Tuesday, April 20, 2010

spring on the prairie

Burn off the old, prepare for the new.

It's near the end of burning season on the prairie. An annual ritual which represents my favorite season on the prairie. I love everything about it -- the crackling of the fire, the smell of the smoke. I am especially fond of it during the evening hours. The glow of the fire is beautiful.

I've been around this ritual since I was a young girl. I remember going with Dad to burn pasture. I always walked with him -- rake in hand, dragging the fire.  We didn't have 4-wheelers and gators back then so we did a lot of walking, moving the pick-up and tractor. We carried large buckets of water in the back of the truck and soaked gunny sacks in the water. That was our defense in keeping the fire contained.

Saturday night we drove south of town to the farm where our friends were burning. By the time we arrived they were well into the process so we were merely observers. I thoroughly enjoyed being there. Standing in the quiet brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the many experiences with my Dad. He loved this time of year and he loved what followed, as do I -- the greening of the hills. The bright green of the new prairie grasses against the charred ground is such a stark contrast. It happens so quickly. It seems as if overnight the hills are covered in green.

And soon after the new green, come the baby calves. Seeing the new black angus calves against the bright green back-drop can bring tears to my eyes. I know that sounds crazy to many of you but the love of the land runs deep in my heart. It just can't be explained.


Anonymous said...

this is new to me. the burning would almost be a bit scary it seems. while joe and i were camping once - a forest fire broke out. it took over an entire mountain side so fast. it was very scary to see happen.

love that you love your land.

Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

what a beautiful post...I think it's beautiful, too...mesmerizing...and you're right...some things just can't be explained. xo

Jenni said...

The controlled burns actually help limit the chances of wildfires that take out more than they're supposed to because they get rid of the old, dry grass on a regular basis instead of letting it build up into one huge mass of kindling.

Yesterday as I drove up Haverhill Rd. to Leon, I thought about these same things, Nancy. The fields were all in various stages, some newly blackened, some with green just beginning to emerge, and others lush and fully renewed by earlier burning. Quite a few black angus cows and their wobbly little calves were out on that green grass and I marvelled at what a beautiful sight it was and how fortunate I am to live here and see it.


i was born a country farm girl, and a fellow true lover of land. i have one very specific memory of a specific place where i literally fell in love - with the land. not many people get it when i try to explain, so it's nice that you feel that way too :)