The longleaf pine woodlands in Georgia is one of the most fire dependent ecosystems in North America. According to The Natural History of the Fire Forest by R. Todd Engstrom, et al, “…these woodlands depend on frequent fire (every one to three years) to maintain their biological richness and ecosystem health today, as they have for tens of thousands of years.”
For the system to survive and to thrive it has to burn. Clearing out the old growth to make room for the new.
When we are stuck; when we are caught in a pattern of our own making and it has outlived it’s usefulness; when we know there is a bigger “more” waiting for us and we have no idea how to move towards it; when we are deathly afraid of taking the next, new step because it is just so foreign and we feel just so helpless; that’s when we’ve got to create the Fire Forest in our own life.
And, from my own experience I can offer two things: (1) The burn of that fire, fueled by underbrush, tumbleweeds and ancient, explosive kindling, is a long, hot burn. (2) That burn produces a healing, life-giving heat that nurtures new growth like a greenhouse nurtures a tender seedling.
Just like the Fire Forest each of us is a system that needs renewal; one that is capable of adapting to the cycle of regeneration and growing more richly and more abundantly because of it. Unlike the Fire Forest, we get to choose if and when we will enter the cycle and just how much fuel we will bring with us when we do.
© 2010 David Berry