Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Scars and Vistas

Recently, several friends have gone through some really tough things. The death of loved ones, marriage issues, hard diagnoses, etc. It has sent me to my knees many times in their behalf as I ache for them.
I was thinking about this a lot as I was driving home from a funeral and had some time to myself.
I was driving across northeastern Arizona, which in the past 20 years or so has had its share of wildfires. Fires that have burned thousands of acres of land and forever changed the landscape.  As I looked at these areas which had burned more than 10 years ago, I noticed small pine trees dotting the space as well as grasses and fallen logs. I also noticed hundreds of aspens. I thought of something I recently learned. While in Colorado, we had marveled at these beautiful areas where the aspens leaves' had changed to yellow and it looked like rivers of gold were running down the mountainsides.

A forest service worker then told us that when we saw large areas with the aspens it was generally due to a forest fire. After fires swept through, the aspens would quickly grow and spread (they spread from massive root systems). Then, in time, the pine trees would get large enough to squeeze out the aspens and it would eventually get back to normal. I remember when these fires burned causing intense change to the Arizona landscape and thinking "those areas will never be the same". They aren't. But, the growth of the aspens and the beauty they provide is inspiring and encouraging. The forest has been changed significantly and it is becoming new in a beautiful way. As the sun set, the view was incredible, scars and all.

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