Standing in The Burn Pile


There is something about ashes and the remains of a fire in the woods that interests me. I am not exactly sure what it is, but the attraction is very strong. Perhaps it is the beautiful blackness. Maybe it is the evidence of drama. It is certainly mystery. In fact it is exactly what I think mystery might look like. Over time, I have come to realize that my wanting to stand in the ashes is also a way to encourage myself and celebrate change. In the ashes, I stand as the final step in the process of change by simply being a witness to it.

Every year, the rarely seen caretakers of my favorite woods create burn piles of sticks and vegetation along the winding, mile long carriage path, presumably to help keep trails accessible, water views open, and other reasons I am not privy to. Then the piles sit for months, slowly drying out and waiting for their environment to become just right for the burn. Lots of waiting. It is a process.

Sometimes, I walk barefoot in these woods. If I find a burn pile, no matter what season, I have to stand in it. In the ashes, I physically connect with the sticks that were once on trees I walked under, vines I watched twist and curl, ferns that I probably ran my hands over. I connect to their memory, their collection, their drying out, and their final transformation that enables them to go back into the soil to emerge in a new way.

Eventually, hopefully, we live long enough to realize that we don't have control over things we thought we once did, and positive change is often on a different schedule than ours. We can't always make things happen. Sometimes we have to wait for not only ourselves to be ready, but things outside us as well. Lots of waiting. It is a process.

The burn piles I stand in are nature's symbol and evidence that change does happen. When it is exactly the right time, when we are ready, when our environment (things or people around us) is ready, things shift.

So I will keep standing in the burn piles to acknowledge that change happens at the right time. I honor the things that have passed and the new things ready to emerge beneath my feet. I ground my feet in the wonderfully messy blackness that is part mystery, part hope, and part certainty.

© Beth Adoette​

Related Post... "There is a Purple Aster Growing in The Burn Pile. (Giving a Voice to Trauma)"

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