Burning Off the Lower Garden


PawPaw Creek, Madison County, NC 2014


I burned off the lower garden.
It’s a cleansing for me.
And for the garden, too.

I love the smell of the smoke.
Having it coat my clothing.
My hands black with the soot.

The garden is rid of dead grasses.
And dried stalks.
The black soil ready for the coming shoots.

I remember a time years ago.
A friend burning off his garden.
It got away from him.

A dry time, and a windy day.
What started small
Burned over 200 acres of forest land.

I was on a fire crew then and
We fought fire that day from noon ‘til 10p.
Traipsing the side of the mountain.

We cut fire line, but
We couldn’t do much in that wind.
But stay out of the way.

On the side of Stafford Nob.
Our friend emerges from the charred landscape.
Rake in hand, like an apparition exiting the storm.

Light and smoke.
Smoke and light.
I love what they do together.