Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a burning renewal

Broom crowberry. This Cape Cod native plant is locally abundant, globally rare. It isn't much to look at...scraggly scrub grass that grows in patchy tufts in open areas. But, there it is--created, and interacting as part of this world. The crowberry likes fire. Fire-aphilic...mmm yep made that one up. Ants eat its little berries and the remaining seeds must wait (in eager expectation?) for something, something cleansing, to prepare them to grow into what they were originally intended to be. So in comes fire. Consuming for some, renewing for others. The crowberry seeds are spurred on to germinate after the flames come through, and more crowberry is established.
Monday we were chainsawing, piling, and burning pines for fire management and to create open space for more broom crowberry. We had to be careful not to step on it...fire renews it, but a footstep will kill it. I enjoyed thinking about this little plant so low to the ground that we were working around all day. It really was an amazing day...it could have been spring. And the work kept us satisfyingly busy. The fire Erin and I were tending even got commented on by one of the fire guys. It was crazy at the end of the day to realize the many pines that were growing just that morning had been reduced to the smoldering pile of ash. But again, it's all part of it.

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