Thursday, August 16, 2012

Controlled Burns

The Scout Master is a big fan of traveling and an even bigger fan of National Parks.  He loves road trips and he loves it when the destination is either someplace historic or someplace scenic.  Just after we moved to Utah, he decided that we should take advantage of the fact that we were once again living west of the Mississippi and visit as many national parks as we could.  Over the years, we saw Mount Rushmore, Teton, Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone.  On a couple of those trips, we even met up with his youngest brother and family and made a mini reunion out of it.  As usual, I was hesitant about the long drives and worried that the wonders of the nation would be lost on 4 small children.  But as usual, the Scout Master's sense of adventure overruled my sense of caution, and we went on all the road trips anyway.  And, as usual, he was right and we always made it safely to our destination and the kids ALWAYS loved the experience.   (nope...this isn't another Flashback post, although I am going to sneak in a few pictures just because I love them...and they're kind of relevant.)
Spell Girl especially loved Teton because she had just gotten these COOL bird watching binoculars the previous Christmas.  She used the heck out of those things on this trip!
Carlsbad Caverns
Mount Rushmore (I LOVE this picture...that's Mack and his cousin...they were SO little!)
On one of those national parks trips, we happened to see what looked like several little forest fires in the distance.  They were alarming and scary at first, but then as we got closer, we could see that there were park rangers with large supplies of water standing nearby.

I am insatiably curious and not the slightest bit intimidated by a park ranger who might be busy fighting a forest fire, so I made the Scout Master stop the van so I could ask one of them what they were doing.  He explained a controlled burn to us.  

Every now and then, in the world of wild open spaces (like farms, prairies and national parks) it is necessary to use fire to regulate wildlife or to reduce hazardous situations, like weeds or disease carrying pests, or to reduce the potential area that a forest fire can permeate.  In this case, all they were doing was eliminating the undesireable things in the forest and stimulating the germination of desireable plants and trees in the future.  

Every now and then, I experience these controlled burns in my life.   Sometimes I control them, and sometimes I don't (they are still controlled, just not by me.)   Every now and then it's totally necessary, though, to clear the area of the toxic, less desirable things in my life and replace them with things that are better.   I'm in that "recently burned" place right now, I think...kind of empty, bare, not a lot that's beautiful to look at, but tons of potential.   It's like having an empty journal or a new bulletin board.  I love that feeling and I hate it all at the same time.  Exciting, intimidating, scary, and hopeful...  

Now the trick is just to figure out what to put in that space...???

What gives me joy, energy and satisfaction?
Where do I want to be in a year? in 5 years? in 10 years?
What are my priorities?
Who do I want to spend my time with?
What do I want to spend my time doing?

I'm not sure of the answers to any of those questions right now.  But I can feel something coming...something better...something more desirable...I just need to be still and wait for it.

Be Good.  Be Patient.  Don't Forget.

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