Dead Wood

dscn0258It started with the long, hot, dry weather, unusual for the mountains in autumn. It was the drought that came first. Then, the fires. The continued lack of rain combined with human insensitivity ignited a crisis. The physical result included the burning of 55,531 acres. Two months, 987 personnel, 700 structures damage, and at least seven dead, by the time the fires were extinguished. Before the fires started, the weather created the environment conducive to flames.

Another fire was also burning. Decades of civil rights progress, legally, culturally and politically, ignited with comments like

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

“The only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yamakas every day.”

“If you can’t get rich dealing with politicians, there’s something wrong with you.”

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK, I hate to tell you.”

“One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.”

There are theories that forests need occasional burns to clear the dead wood and create an environment for new, healthy growth.

Politically, as rights are threatened, as violent words are spoken, the flame of anger has the potential to clear the debris of prejudice and the myths that disconnect ‘them’ from ‘us’.

During a forest fire, the animals leave without resistance. Some humans refused to leave, holding on to their material possessions, believing everything will remain the same. Some became aware of the need to act, to make changes, and when the fires became too dangerous, choose safety.

The fires of the 2016 election have released the anger of dead wood in our country. The dead wood of affluenza. The dead wood of sexism. The dead wood of racism. I welcome the burn. I encourage the destruction of beliefs that prevent new regrowth. In time, everything dies, everything is recycled and given new life.

Selective Pruning


Cutting back
Leaving the opportunity for new growth
So the plant will be stronger
Still connected to what has been cut
Benefiting from the selected cutting
Even amputees remember the physical connection
Through phantom pain
What we see is not everything that exists
What we feel is not everything relating to us
We are connected to our ancestors
Through their abundance
As a result of their pruning
We are connected to generations yet to be
By what we leave behind
By what we nurture
There will be a time we are not seen
When we are only felt
When what we leave behind will