Every soul needs to burn a little bit. In this year of wildfire I have seen people come together, offer help to their neighbor, and be kind to one another like no other. Wildfires are a burning reminder that nothing is permanent. Those stands of douglas fir and aspen that I hunt grouse in are just but a memory now. A good one at that. There isn’t much to hold onto for normality this year. No real winter to speak of. I moved from two jobs and graduate school to a refined one job work week. My wife and I were evacuated due to wildfire for 10 days, taking honeybees and pigeons with us. None of this could I say is normal. There is something about wildfire though that makes us gawk. We ooh and ahh at the miracle of nature, the power of God so fierce and beautiful to see it makes us feel so small. Every soul needs to burn a little bit, the mountain’s, mine, your’s.
I woke up yesterday and let the dogs outside. It hit me like a wave; autumn is coming. The first normal thing about this year…. Autumn is coming. This happens every year. Some transformation of inner feelings that turns me from a puddle of goo trying to crawl across a bunch of gravel without picking up too much dirt, back into a human being again. The mountains start to look different, taking my breath away with the same sights as before, only with more to offer on some unseen level. It is as if a fuse is burning at my heels and I can feel it, I can see it, I can smell it; pretty soon and I will enter the soul of the mountain once again.
Now, in autumn, I look at those mountains and I melt into them. I realize the beauty of them on a level that is remarkably inhuman. Hunting season is coming. I have a new pup and an old pup. One that doesn’t know if this will be his last season and one that doesn’t know what a season is. I know their blood flows about the same as mine, with that fiery burn, every time we hit the woods in pursuit of birds. The mountain gives me this opportunity. It opens up to bear all. It has surplus to share like a beehive’s honey. Much like a bee, she stings too. The sharp painful breath it takes to explore her most private places, the sharp painful smoke she makes as she burns years away of what makes room for regrowth. She stings when we miss and she stings when we hit. When you take something away from a mountain you better believe it takes something away from you. I’m not talking sweat and tears or blood. I am talking about the part of your soul that has overgrown, it has turned into congestion. Old shit that can’t do what it needs to, it has to die. Regrowth ensues. Fresh soul building, new beginnings, resilience.
There is no future without at least some burning. So the question is; what makes your soul burn?