LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Buck talked to the Division of Forestry last week to make arrangements for them to come out and re-plow some of the fire lines around Longleaf. Before Hurricane Ivan knocked us for a loop, back in September of 2004, we could walk a circle of fire lines all around the property. There were circles within circles and connecting lines. It was not quite a labyrinth, but was, for me, the perfect place for a walking meditation.

The forester will come out once the ground has dried enough so his brand new equipment doesn’t bog up and run the risk of getting stuck. We’re into a pattern of daily thunderstorms and showers right now, and the ground has been too wet to plow.

Hurricane Ivan took about 350 of the old growth Longleaf pines and hardwood trees around here. A good number of them wound up strewn across the fire lines.

Exigencies of life intervened in 2005 and 2006 to put path clearing not only on the back burner, but forgotten for a long time. Our son (my stepson), Darryl, died of a heart attack. He was 45 years old, much loved, and greatly missed. The trauma of his passing has developed scar tissue on our hearts, but as anyone who has experienced loss knows, the open wound never really goes away. His mother, Buck’s first wife and the natural grandmother of my grandchildren, had died from complications of a stroke almost exactly 60 days earlier. Darryl’s brother and sister lost both mother and brother within two months.

We were smack in the middle of a huge home building project — sort of like being in the center of a bridge with both ends on fire and no where to go but through the fire.  It was an awful time.

The year 2006 brought surgery for me for a strange fibroid outside the uterine wall that no one was sure was a fibroid, rather than something else far more scary, until it was out and examined by pathologists.

I’ve been sitting here trying to remember what took 2007. Oh, yeah. No wonder I forgot. I put it into the File 13 of my memory bank. Buck’s friend of 35 years, a retired two-star Air Force general, died in February of 2007, leaving Buck the personal representative of his estate. He had also made Buck trustee of a trust that Buck didn’t know existed. The twisted plot line of the unfolding of this messy situation would make a Southern Gothic novelist drool. I’ll leave it at that.

Life is a beautiful, horrific braiding of events. We stand at the mouth of the river and the eye of the storm, that place where rainbows are seen. Difficult days, we tread water. Glorious days, we fly.

When the forester clears the path and the circle is once more unbroken, Buck, Maggie and I will walk it again and again. Maybe we’ll find anew the pitcher plant prairie where I took these photographs in May of 2004.

Fly with me. Let’s soar above it all for a sweet while.

Copy of Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 039

 

 

 

Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 018 

Pitcher plants 4-1-04 003

Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 019 

Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 027 

Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 022 

Pitcher Plant Show 5-15-04 043 

Pitcher plants 4-1-04 005 

Pitcher plants 4-1-04 006

0 thoughts on “Fire Lines

  1. I’m copying this poetry for the bulletin board above my desk. It’s too true and too beautiful to be buried: “Life is a beautiful, horrific braiding of events. We stand at the mouth of the river and the eye of the storm, where rainbows are seen. Some difficult days, we tread water. Some glorious days, we fly.”
    Hoping for more flying for you and Buck…and all of us.
    PS Maybe your foot healing & the cloud-clearing will coincide and you’ll be ready when the fire lines are open again.

    Like

  2. Paula says:

    Exquisite! All I can say is thanks…

    Like

  3. deanna says:

    “Difficult days, we tread water. Glorious days, we fly.”
    Thanks for the beautiful post.

    Like

  4. Gullible says:

    Wow, Beth. Maybe you should wear that air cast more often–not because of broken bones though.
    What a fascinating plant that is.
    PS: I cleaned up all the typos, etc., at Fireweed–should not do this stuff late at night, but that’s the only time I do it.

    Like

  5. Walk says:

    All I can do is echo whats already been said. Life these past few years have been hard for so many on so many different levels, that your words will help us get through them. I too, am going to print them out for my desk at work.

    Like

  6. DSK says:

    Great post.

    Like

  7. Shaddy says:

    You’ve experienced some extremely tough times yet you’ve pulled through with a beautiful appreciation of the beauty that life showers upon us.
    Your photos are breathtaking and I thank you for them.

    Like

  8. Debbie says:

    What a splendid place. I would love to dwell in the scent and sight of them all!

    Like

  9. Thank you, Debbie. I’ve been writing about and photographing Longleaf’s hundred-acre wood since 2003, and have begun writing a memoir, tentatively titled “Memoir of a Small Forest.”
    Thanks for visiting.

    Like

  10. austere says:

    I could hear the insect sounds just looking at your amazing pictures.
    Awesome.

    Like

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