From my front porch I can see the billowing smoke. The side of the mountain is on fire. Over the past five days the whump-whump of helicopter blades have become a part of the normal ambience of my little cove. Payload after payload of water dumped from the sky.
One unattended campfire. Residual winds from Hurricane Matthew. Drought. All ingredients for the more than twenty acre wildfire scarring the mountainside.
Wildfires have always fascinated me. Not the fires themselves, but the way the land rebuilds from all the black ash. When I see pictures of destruction I feel the heavy loss of all the beauty, but then such awe at the way nature rebuilds. Little by little until the the forest is more beautiful than it was before.
Did you know that jack and lodge pine trees have cones that will only open in a fire? Or that a wildfire prevents itself from recurrence by clearing out brush? In populated areas that are prone to wildfires, the fires are extinguished before all the brush has the chance to be burned away. The subsequent wildfires are more severe, because the one before it was unable to complete its task.
You know where I am going with this. The wildfire of our lives. Some fires are avoidable. Someone was careless with us, or perhaps we were careless with ourselves. Others happen through natural causes. The lives we’ve built burn down around us, and we are shocked at how what started as a spark rolls into flames in mere moments. Then a wake of charred life. Waste.
When the smoke clears what do you see? Destruction and loss to be certain. But there is more to be seen. The little creatures returning. Seeds born of fire taking root and springing forth. The scrub and the waste have been consumed, and the things of substance remain. Lasting pillars.
You might look on and see someone you love battling their own wildfire. Before you step in to wipe out their problem, ask God for wisdom. What is it they need? Do they need you to fight their fire, or do they need the heat to unlock the little seeds that can only be born in one way? Instead of fixing the problem for them, plant your heels beside them to join in the task of digging fire lines to bring the wildfire into a controlled burn.
I’m not saying you should leave the ones you love to face life alone, but sometimes our attempt to put other people’s fires out causes the scrub and brush to remain in their life. Then the next fire they encounter is more consuming and destructive than the one before. To enable is not love. Help them scout the way the wind blows and the sparks jumping in the tree canopy, but don’t take over. Their process through the struggle is necessary for building skills to survive the next phase.
Today, I look on as the the fire fighters still work to extinguish the blaze. When the smoke clears, I’ll see how much of the autumn colors I will miss out on because someone left a campfire unattended. They neglected to realize the power of the thing they created. I must take time to examine where I am guilty of the same things in my own life.
There is one day left to enter the Hope Perch Sea Glass Locket Giveaway. At the bottom of my sea glass post: Walking on Broken Glass you can view a picture of the jewelry and enter. The contest closes on October 14th at 11:59 EST. I’ll announce the winner on my Facebook Page on Saturday morning!