Adventures in Imperfection

Prairie Burn – Repost

Note: Reposting a favorite from March of 2014.

With a late arriving spring, landowners and farmers are burning fields and pastures to eliminate weeds and promote new life. Whether this is the first time you’ve read Prairie Burn, or you’re indulging me again, view it as a meditation and a call to look inward and determine what in your life may need invigorated, renewed, or eliminated. 


Prairie Burn
“She’s mad, but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.” ― Charles Bukowski

In my corner of the country, spring is the signal to burn the prairie. Start fresh, and purge the landscape of weeds and seeds and spindly trees. This fire-fallow cultivation is a showy signal to Mother Nature and a tell that it’s time to beckon the sprouted green aftermath.

Like thunderstorms, the sensual lure of the fire is fascinating to the farm girl side of me. I’m drawn to the lick of the flames and the way its fiery tail snakes through the prairie grasses. If the wind is just right, the roar will rise to the open sky as the sound surrounds the soul bowing beneath its heat.


The men in my family have always understood the science behind a controlled, agricultural burn. Over the decades, I’ve watched the experts and learned, and I’ve played with fire, too. As a pre-teen, I stood at our backyard trashcan and practiced coaxing the flame from one strand of grass to another with a wayward twig…or gasoline.

But during a prairie burn, I’m content to hide my pyromaniac tendencies behind a camera lens. My husband and his friend speak in code to each other, and if I listen close enough, I learn the secrets of fire breaks and burn circles. The intricate dance of escorting the inferno to the perimeter without making the mistake of letting flames jump the road and become the uninvited guests of the neighbors.

The appointed evening was chosen because it had rained the day before. The wind was quiet and the night was clear and humid. The guys complained that the conditions made it difficult to keep the fire going, but I was content because it made it safe for me to crouch in the grass next to the flames and steal some photos.


Fire and thunderstorms share the same ragged corner of my mind and I’m drawn to the metaphor. With each of these forces, there is a purge, a cleansing, and a fine line between fear and excitement. Spring is the season of new life and renewal. Out with the old and in with the new.

Are we able to do that as easily with our lives as we are with the flower beds, garden sheds, and dotted prairie plots? Each spring I have good intentions to let old habits, grudges, waning friendships, and negativity fall away.

Let it go. Let it fall. let it be.

Yet, I’m drawn to the flames, and I keep looking for a way to play with fire. To make deals with myself that I’ll build a break to keep the bad habits from hopping the road and burning those around me.

I know this sounds melancholy, but I assure you that I’m not. Something about watching the flames makes me want to share the moment with you. As I snapped the photos you see, I counted my many blessings, made promises to be a better mom, wife, and friend. A vow that launched me toward a controlled burn–to get rid of weeds, unwanted seeds, and debris. To tidy up the brain for a productive and verdant harvest in the months to come.


What is it about a fire that draws, lures and beckons us toward the fatal blaze? The desire to feed the source coupled with the sensibility to douse it out once it’s served its purpose or delivered its destruction.

I have no enlightened answers.

Just a torch and a camera.

How about a little fire, Scarecrow?


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17 thoughts on “Prairie Burn – Repost

  1. Loved this one back then and love it even more now. Spring is a beautiful time of renewal. So timeless! Yes. This is what Kundalini energy is doing to my very consciousness. Burning off fears in life. The synchronicity of your post isn’t lost on me. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow! That is awesome! I see fire in exactly the same way.. love songs about fire (most of the time). Had to look these up! I knew most of them but didn’t know a couple. Here is one that goes along with your post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Carrie,
      Thank you so much for always being here and having such kind words to share. I had a surreal moment when you tweeted my story yesterday – one full of gratitude that our paths have crossed. I hope you are having a great week – I took that Ohio snow with me when I left. 🙂


  3. It is that balance in our lives that we seek. Fire can be a very beautiful and warm partner…or can burn if we don’t respect it and get too close, or even fear it and hold it at bay, as our hearts do in all our relationships Michelle 😀
    A controlled burn is in understanding the need to do it, respecting each step, and inviting in the outcomes because you’ve had the courage to face it 😀
    May your flames be built on that courage kind lady ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mark,
      You must know that I read your kind and insightful comments last night before I went to bed – they felt like a meditation – the way flames can feel like meditation. Warm, healing, and comforting. Thank you for always being here. Namaste

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting to be introduced to your blog, read the entry on fire, enjoy your beautiful photography, contemplate your meditations, and read the other bloggers’ responses. Must say, I love your writing, your thoughtfulness, your analogies, but I do not share your warm, healing take on fire. A Christmas eve fire almost destroyed my house one year. Fire devastated much of California last year. I understand controlled burns. Grew up in farming communities. But, only when fire is in my fireplace or well controlled by those who can keep it at bay, only then can I appreciate its beauty! (Oh, and through your camera lens). Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan,
      Reading your note filled me both with joy at your kind words and regret (at the flippant fire throwing).
      I can’t imagine what you and your family went through. So ironic as I was just thinking about the CA fires today – wondering how (and where) everyone is doing – several months out. I’m eager to hop over to your blog and learn more about you. Your comment has the feel of a poet and your words are so calm and inviting.
      Thank you for being here ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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