When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

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Normally, the view from our front window is a spectacular vista of Mt. Adams. Even on a cloudy day we can usually see at least an outline of the mountain. Not today. Due to the massive wildfires burning throughout the West, there is so much smoke that it is hard to even imagine our mountain. There's no way around it, the smoke is terrible. As in hell is burning terrible. Everyone is talking about it. Eyes are burning, vision is cloudy, throats are sore, hearts are stressed, lungs are taxed, heads are aching, and spirits are waning.

The pervasive smoke has gotten me thinking about how often our own vision is clouded by the smoke of the fires burning in our own personal forests. We run to put out one fire after another, leaving smoking embers in our wake, never stepping back to ask ourselves what our forests need to be healthy. The thing is, fires are a necessary part of the ecological process that keep timberlands healthy. One way to do that is to ignore the forest until one day a lightening strike or the strike of an arsonist's match sets the whole thing ablaze. When we can't see the forest for the trees, that is often the way it goes. The other option is through something called a prescribed burn, a fire intentionally set to burn away that which is getting in the way of a healthy and sustainable woodland. Rather than resources poured into disaster management, it is an investment in the future. 

 The Mt. Adams Community Forest, one year after a prescribed burn overseen by  Mt. Adams Resource Stewards.

The Mt. Adams Community Forest, one year after a prescribed burn overseen by Mt. Adams Resource Stewards.

Our lives are no different. Periodically burning away that which no longer serves us, clutters our landscapes, and consumes precious resources is the only way to create a healthy environment in which we can continue to thrive and grow. 

I'm thinking about what needs to be carefully, and thoughtfully burned away in my life. How about in yours?

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