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The Landscape of Life


The beauty of a forest isn’t just the green trees, it’s also all the imperfections.


This weekend was a mixed bag of work. Catching mice in our trailer, covering water pipes, working on enlarging a trench, and several other things. Regardless of the task at hand, Jer and I have committed to taking scrap wood to the volunteer fire station about a mile away for them to burn in early November.


The burn ban is still in effect and believe me, I’ve done my share of burn piles. They take all day but can be very rewarding once an area is clear. The difficulty is in having a large enough space between trees to actually build a fire. This creates a problem for us. There aren’t a lot of open spaces.


I remember when we first walked through our property a couple of years ago. In fact, almost two years ago this weekend. Pile after pile of downed branches seemed to be everywhere. We sat on one and ate lunch, thinking this would be a good spot to build. Our house now sits there. Seeing all that wood and burning all those piles was overwhelming. I’ve joked it would take us three years of living there to clear all the gray brittle wood underneath our trees, and by the time we were done, there would be more to do.


With little time to burn, Jer talked me into filling our small trailer every evening, at the end of our workday, and taking it to the burn pile. Can you tell how excited I was at the thought of this impossible job? At least he unloads it for us. We started working around the front area of our house. We’ve been doing this for weeks now and it literally takes multiple loads to clear an area. Part of the clearing involves cutting down small dead trees and trimming dead branches off of live ones. Still, it does look better, more open.


The photos shown here are a new area we are beginning to work on, a loaded trailer, and what it looks like after the work. Unfortunately, this is probably only one of five loads it will take to tidy it up.


It’s kind of like life. We all have our own beauty but there’s still a lot of mess to be cleaned up underneath. The hard part is the work, but the payoff is having things cleared out. Even as I look at the forest with its trees needing their dry, dead branches trimmed, I can still see how they add to the landscape of life. Our messes add character to us as well and become a part of what makes us beautiful.

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