Fire Clearance

I have been waiting for weeks to see a dripping wet fog like this in order to safely burn deadwood, gathered from around the property, in our barbecue pit. I remember decades back when park rangers at another property knocked on the door to remind us to finish fire clearance by the beginning of June. Now, due to drought, fire clearance not only has become a year-round job but even in March and April hills look hay-bleached and dry.

The fire burns crisply in spite of dew dropping on my head with startling intensity. Heat from the flames warm a cool, damp early morning. I continue to clean the area around the fire pit, bring a hose closer and make sure the full watering can is within easy reach. I gather leaves and break twigs to a manageable size.


I smile at the log that my son-in-law had placed horizontally near the fire pit as his seat during the last visit. We had been setting logs vertically, when using them as seats, as a way to make it easier for older backs. After my family left, I did not move the horizontal log, because I wanted to test it out for myself, quickly recognizing how extremely stable my son-in-law’s way of placing the log was. I sit there this morning, close to the ground, feeling solid and well focused on the task at hand. In my mind, I call the log, “Zeke’s seat.”

I am reminded of a new meditation path begun by a student. I had wondered, at first, why there? I became aware that walking the start of this newly begun trail was a more gentle experience, compared to the other more steep meditation path. The new path is not yet finished, but I continue to work on it. I call it “Sue’s path.”

Birds fly around the fire pit, dive bombing surprisingly close. What do they see that interests them so close to the flames?

After a couple of hours, I feel tired and remind myself: You’ve been awake since 2:00 am. You have sat for meditation, done yoga and cleaned house in preparation for weekend visitors. It is definitely time to halt, but motion doesn’t want to stop.

What is the solution? I set myself small winding-down goals and create finishing-mode activities like a runner at the end of her race who keeps going but at a slower pace. A week passes. New plans arrive, new visions and new challenges.

Ultimately, I seek to have the wisdom to embrace the unexpected, to accommodate change, and, as a friend said today, to be “welcoming.”

April 30, 2015

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