The Barrens, Several Months After the Fire
"Time is the fire in which we burn." - Delmore Schwartz.
On November 7th, the Scotia Barrens burned. It was very dramatic for those of us who live nearby. They sent a lot of fire trucks out to save us. The fire was mostly contained by sometime that same night, and the next day, of course, I marched myself right up Tow Hill for a personal look at the devastation.
The trees and the ground were still smoking the first time I visited after the fire. It was both fascinating and horrifying, but I also understand this: fires are a natural part of how a pine barrens ecosystem manages itself. Did you know that certain kinds of pine cones only open up and disperse their seeds upon the application of great heat?
My husband wanted to jog in the Barrens and I was on my daily walk, with camera. I've been keeping an eye on a very active beaver pond, and I discovered their lodge last week. But on this day, I went past that place. I took the left path and walked through some of the burnt part, ending up at one of the old beaver ponds on the bottom.
My husband won't walk through the burnt part. He thinks it's ruined, aesthetically speaking; he doesn't want to walk through ashes that he thinks are an eyesore. I can't blame a hiker who doesn't want to walk through a non-pretty woods.
But I am committed to keeping watch on this burned section to see what happens next. I am here to document it all. So here is its next phase, more than three months later. We've got some debris down, some orange (dead) pine needles, and some bare ground. And that's the updated report on the Barrens fire.
I need a soundtrack song for this image. And of course, the words that came into my mind were about standing in the canyon, watching everything burn. We can thank Emmylou for that song, and here she is: Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler, with Boulder to Birmingham. Here is the same song, by the Wailin' Jennys. Let me toss in this fun bonus quote, by Willie Nelson: "There are two kinds of men. Those who are in love with Emmylou Harris, and those who haven't met her."
I don't want to hear a sad story
Full of heartbreak and desire
The last time I felt like this
I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
And I stood on the mountain
In the night and I watched it burn
I watched it burn, I watched it burn
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