Wednesday, May 06, 2009


For the last couple of weeks, since the temperatures are still in the minus zones overnight, I have been busying myself with clearing brush.  In so doing, I have discovered small, new plantlets just beginning to pop through the dry soil...Strawberries, Wood Violets, Indian paintbrush, Nodding Onion, Asters and many of the various Sunflowers are all announcing their arrival.

Before I cleared the brushy stuff, which threatened to take over the back yard, those wildlings were hidden under broken, brownish-grey branches and long, yellow grass.  It astounds me how plants can continue to grow here with everything stacked against them...we are in drought conditions and not much light reached them, until I cleared the brush.

I have piles of brush. I had intended on burning them...fires are still permitted as long as they are small...but I can't imagine doing so. It is too dangerous.

Graham is on a business trip for a week; my plan was to continue to clear, then to visit nurseries for some new deciduous trees and shrubs.  It hasn't quite turned out that way.

It is very dry here. Dust storms are common.  Snow melt has just ended; no Rain has arrived.  One would think, even without Rain, that Snow would have melted into the Earth, yet only the first inch or so is damp.  Underneath, the soil is devoid of moisture.

I attempted to plant Seeds directly in the soil; however, Seeds must be kept moist, in order to germinate. Most of the Seeds fell victim to the Squirrels or Birds, the rest are still resting. Even had they popped their tender heads through the soil, there would have been a Bird who instantly, on the show of green, would have snatched it up.

Since Graham left, Wind has blown, screeching his way through the Trees, constantly. Sand and dust has battered the house; items not battened down fly through the Air with graceful ease.

This morning, it appears calm, but I wonder to myself how long the quiet will last.  

On Saturday, the dogs and I were engulfed in smoke.  At first, I thought it might have been from the 70 Mile Fire, which was burning out of control at that time.  But we live too far away from that one; I learned later there was also a Fire near the City of Williams Lake.  It must have been the smoke from that Fire which travelled this way on the ever-increasing Wind.

But with the smoke which travelled here very quickly on the Wind, I was just as nervous as the Dogs, who shook and shivered...mostly because Lucky is afraid of blasting, which was also occurring, and Nate is frightened of Wind.  Wind has the tendency to slam doors, knocking objects off tables and generally creating havoc. Dust rises and swirls on the long arms of this strong Wind. 

Nate attempted to crawl under the bed; however, he is too large and not as agile as he once was.

And possibly, I fueled their fear.  I was frightened myself.  Was evacuation even possible?  And how was I to prepare? I pictured myself grabbing photos and the computer (since the computer has all my photos on it). The whole scenario tells me a bit... most objects are replaceable, but memories contained in treasured photos are not.

My priorities lie with the memories.

My fear of Fire began when I was small.  I remember many Forest Fires in the town where I grew up...many that burned, out of control, for long weeks.  These Fires usually occurred after a long, hot Summer. But I remember my Dad having to fight Fire, coming home blackened with Soot, telling horrendous stories of how quickly and randomly Fire travelled and how easily he could have been trapped.

My first husband only just escaped from a house Fire, when he was young.  As a consequence, he impressed upon me his fear...and Fire, burning beyond control, has ever since held me in the grip of near terror.

We have no beetle-killed Pine on our property; only Interior Fir grows here.  Yet, Fire, once begun, would only jump from Tree to Tree, not minding the species or whether it was dead and dry. But the dead Pine, standing browned and still, is a catastrophe just waiting...

The thought of burning those piles of brush I cleared in the back has long disappeared; I plan to pile them until we are the recipients of a long period of Rain, which may not happen.  I heard on the news that we are in drought conditions. Even with Rain forecasted, I have not seen any since last Fall...only Snow, at least here, in the hilly country where I live.

Perhaps I will have to put up with the horrendous noise of the Wood chipper...noise which will destroy the serenity of this whole far-flung neighbourhood.

I must not forget Fire also rejuvenates, even as it destroys. As Fire passes, burning wildly in the overstory of large Trees, seeds which require Fire to burst into life suddenly stir.  All those wildlings...Fireweed, Aspens, Birches, Lilies et al, will cover the blackened Earth.

New homes may be built...better and more Earth-friendly. There will be memories of the old and new stories to tell.

Nature, it seems, is balanced...when She takes away...drastically, at times... she also gives. A different Life, perhaps, one not easily accepted by the unadaptable, but one that is nonetheless restored and renewed.

And just as those small, baby Asters, Onions and tender Pachysandra tentatively poke their childish heads above the Earth this Spring, a new Cycle begins...

And my fear of Fire? I'd better learn to face it...learn to be better prepared. I chose to live in a Forest, after all.


  1. I can omly imagine the fear. But as you say being prepared will make you feel better and god forbid it never happens.

  2. It sounds like you were wise to rake up all of that dead wood and deny the fire its approach to the house.
    After the ice storm here , winter before last, I piled up all of the fallen branches -- several piles -- in hopes of burning them. It took months for the piles to dry sufficiently to catch fire (even using old tires to ignite them)
    Fire is the worst destroyer it seems to me; even after a flood you can strip the drywall and rebuild. But after fire the very ground smells of burning. I hope for you the best avoiding this latest assault.

  3. we're in a dry and hot season here, and bushfires may spring up here and there. i try to stay indoors most times. hope all is well for you.

  4. Davem,

    I am much better prepared now than I was; I have an emergency preparedness pamphlet. And I understand my fear much better...I'll know to expect it and not to let it overwhelm me.


    It was very cleansing, to clear all that brush. I remember prunings, etc. being very wet on the Coast; by the time it dried out, fire season was well under way!

    We've had some Rain; this morning, it actually snowed a few inches. Very strange weather, but it all helps to saturate the soil a little more.


    I find I crave water, during long dry spells. The thing is, it hasn't even been hot...snow only just melted...but it doesn't seem to matter. The land is just as dry as it was last Autumn, when after a hot Summer it was very dry.

  5. We may be having a short fire season here in New Mexico. There was a late snow just a few weeks ago and now there are rains beginning. This is early for them to begin, so I have been told. The weather has been weird since I got her last month. It was snowing when I got here. Then it got unseasonably warm and the snow melted off the mountains a lot faster than usual. Now it is raining. If this is the start of the summer monsoons, then there was only about 3 or 4 weeks of fire season and only a few fires happened during that time. OF course, there may be out of season fires for all that I know.