Thanks to the arrival of the fall rains and cooler temperatures, the burn ban has been lifted in our little valley.
Every fall we eagerly await the day when we can finally set fire to the slash piles we’ve accumulated throughout the year. Downed trees from a windstorm, branches that have been pruned, skinny lodgepole pines cut down to thin out the forest behind our house, remnants from the garden, rotted fence posts, dried weeds pulled from the beds and edges of the driveway, the broken chair that is beyond repair, last year’s Christmas tree, and various and sundry other burnable debris.
Dressed in our Carhartt jackets and Muck boots, steaming cups of coffee in hand, we set off the burn pile and watch the flames shoot up into the air.
Tending to the fire as it burns through the pile, it goes from roaring flames, to glowing embers, to smoldering cinders, until all that is left is reddened earth, blackened coals, and ash.
Another burn pile.
Fall is reminder to lift the burn ban and tend to that which is no longer viable or useful, or maybe never was. To gather together the habits, old stories, irrelevant beliefs, and hardline positions that have quietly accumulated over the course of another year, and burn them away.
The burn ban is lifted. Time to torch the pile.