Tag Archives: Fire


Thinking of Shrubs

A backyard fire a couple months ago severely scorched some of our shrubs, and we thought we had lost them. But last weekend we took a closer look and noticed some green leaves sprouting.  We pruned them and decided to let them be and see what happens. (That is a royal we—John did the hard work of pruning.

I know this regeneration process happens; I’ve read about it books and articles. But seeing it happen, day by day, in my own backyard has so surprised me.

IMG_1237After enduring the trauma of such a hot, intense fire, I expected these shrubs to wither. I expected them to say (if they could talk), “I’ve had enough. I’m exhausted. I just can’t keep going. I’m just going to fold into myself and wither. I gave you myself and my beauty for a period, but now I just have nothing left.”

Perhaps I imagine those words coming from my shrubs because these same words have rattled in my mind and heart after traumatic events in my own life. I just feel so tired, so useless, so defeated.

Trauma does that, doesn’t it?

I know many of you have experienced traumatic events that pale in comparison to a backyard fire. The event has left you feeling broken, depleted, rejected, frozen in time . . .

May I encourage us all to take a lesson from my shurbs?IMG_1289

Don’t give up and fold into yourself. Trim back your expectations a bit to give yourself the energy to embrace new growth. And remember, your life brings a one-of-a-kind beauty to this world, a gift to those around you.

Let me leave you with a beautiful song about trees that takes me back to my junior-high days. This is a song by Ken Medema (copyright 1976 Word Music LLC.) sung by Evie Karlsson with addition of dozens of tree photos. Enjoy!





It Takes a . . .

The incessant pounding on our front door woke us at 2:30 A.M. on a Monday morning a few weeks ago. My thoughts raced to our kids. Were they okay? Had something happened that brought them to our doorstep from Ohio or Colorado?

Then I saw the police officer and heard her shout, “Get out of your house! And get your cars out of your garage!”

John handed me our dog, and I stumbled to the front lawn while he raced to back the cars out of the garage.

From my front lawn, in my bathrobe (!), I began to piece together the story.

Seems my neighbor happened to wake up around 2 A.M. and noticed a fire in the backyard of the house between us. A large shed had caught fire and flames were creeping up our back fence toward our garage. Julie called 911 and within minutes our street filled with emergency trucks and personnel. I’ve only seen more fire trucks at one time at our town’s annual Fourth of July parade.

Things don’t sink in immediately at early morning hours, but now, weeks later, it all seems more real, especially as I survey our burned fence and shrubs and the melted siding on the back of our garage.

IMG_1243         IMG_1239

Forgive me, writer-friends, but as I try to wrap my mind around this whole incident, this sentence comes to mind: “It takes a village.” I hate to use clichés. BUT it fits. Without the efforts and concern of so many people, we would have had a much more serious situation. Ultimately, we did not lose our house or our lives, nor did any of our neighbors. Our insurance will replace what did burn.

It takes a . . . neighbor who can’t sleep.

It takes a . . . bevy of emergency responders who also didn’t sleep.

It takes a . . . caring Fire Chief who noticed frightened little boys at 3 A.M. and took the time to reassure them.

It takes . . . people caring for people.

Connected living. What a life-sustaining gift! Literally.