This week I returned. From the shoreline, nothing had changed, a sea of black remained, but when I walked across the cliff tops everything had changed. Beneath the blackened landscape a carpet of wildflowers had exploded through the ashes.
Fire, one of those things we avoid at all costs, fearing its ability to destroy everything in its path. We rarely think of its positive purpose in nature, to clear out the overgrowth that threatens to choke out life, to germinate seed and to replenish the soil. It’s part of the cycle of nature; perfectly designed to play its part in the continuation of life.
It's a brilliant design. Soil is a great insulator. It protects the buds, seeds and tubers from the heat of the fire, allowing them to regenerate from beneath the earth. The ash left by the fire is nutrient rich and contains chemicals known as karrikins that support new growth. Some plants that have remained dormant because they can’t compete with dense undergrowth suddenly reappear in this new open landscape.
It made me think about the cycle of life, the bleak and devastating times we all go through that feel a lot like death but are what the scriptures call a refining fire. The times we’d avoid at all costs if we could, yet so often they are the precursor of new life … new directions … new beginnings.
How priceless are the small things, the things that money can’t buy … those serendipitous moments, the wonder of nature, the beauty of music and art, memories made with family and friends … and how often we miss them or trade them for the trappings of life.
Make space in this week to look for 'wildflowers', capture the priceless moments and listen to the music of life.