June 10, 2018

Fire and Smoke

A few days ago, I did one of my favorite high elevation hikes.  Since it has been excessively dry here this year, I was curious to see how the wildflowers were doing up in the mountains.  I was pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of glacier lilies in the forest, and quite a few sky pilots up on the tundra at the top of the trail. 
Glacier lily
Sky Pilot
The other reason for choosing this particular trail was to get a view of a fire that had just broken out on another of my favorite trails in the same area.  My hope was to get above the smoke that was pretty much permeating the air of our whole area, but no luck.  The photo at the top of the post was my view of the “Burro” fire. 

What a difference a year makes!  The first photo below was taken on July 1st of last year, when we had lots of moisture in the mountains.  Quite a few of trails were muddy all summer, and snow drifts were encountered even into July.  The photo below that one was taken in the same spot a few days ago on June 9th.  Here we have a totally opposite situation with a dry and dusty trail, and very little moisture because of the drought. 

The lesson here?  Life on planet earth certainly has been challenging for a while now, and one never knows what is coming our way next.  That does not mean that we have to sit back and let our difficulties overwhelm us.  Keep in mind that you and you alone have the power over your life.  Be flexible and always have a backup plan.  Take our native wildflowers for example.  Because of the drought, some plants have not made an appearance at all this year, while others are thriving and even doing quite well.  Just like the plants, are you thriving even if you are encountering some difficulties, are you taking some time out to regroup, or have you buried your head in the sand and are trying to ignore it all?  None of these choices are wrong, as each of you, as the master of your destiny, will find the mode that is appropriate for you. 

While I was sitting at the high point of the trail observing the smoke from the Burro fire, I contemplated the energy of fire.  On the plus side, it is a really useful tool when one wants to create a combustion or transformation of something that has outlived its usefulness.  The light is released from the darkness or matter via the fire.  This is what takes place at the equinox and solstice fire ceremonies that I conduct at my house.  The fire is started, and we then wait until it is “friendly” before starting to work with it. 

The fire that is burning in our forests is not so friendly.  In fact, I detected a pretty angry and out of control energy with it.  It is destroying everything in its path.  BTW, are you this way when you get angry?  The occasional controlled burn is used in the forests throughout the west to clear out piles of debris that might pose a future fire hazard, and this is more of the friendly kind of fire.  When you want to process something that is making you angry, do you use this slow and steady method? 

There is a very large fire burning north of Durango, and it has not been contained because of the difficult terrain and high winds.  This fire started around June 1st, and I have been able to see the smoke from my street, even though it is about 65 miles away.  When I got back from my hike, I was shocked to see how the smoke plume had grown in a short amount of time.  Turns out that because of the wind, the fire had doubled quite suddenly.  Below is the photo taken from my street.  Not a friendly fire indeed! 

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