I’ll never forget seeing acres and acres of burned forest. Some charred trunks still standing, silent memorials amidst a resounding choir of color, the purples and reds of riotous fireweed echoing brightly. There was a challenge for allegiance, a yearning for what had been and for what might be. The tree trunks intoned of past trauma as the fireweed sang the refrain of resilience. It was beautiful and it was ugly. It was awesome and it was eerie.

The vast sea of fireweed lapped at the shore of road that I stood on with my family. I wanted to wade out to a blackened tree trunk but was overwhelmed by the waves of color, by the surge tide of so many plants in the wake of fire. My father assured me that this flood would recede and that the forest would emerge again. I had to believe him, had to have faith that green trees would quiet the roar of color that stung my eyes.

Back in the truck I stared out the window for miles at this powerfully incongruous scene. Later the visual memory would appear unbidden, and whisper a reminder of the immeasurable capacities of the human spirit.


One part of C.Jai Ferry’s challenge for her continuing twitter tutelage is to  write a 200-word story (give or take on the words) incorporating the theme of congruency. See more at Carrot Ranch  and #twitterflash.


14 thoughts on “Allegiance

  1. What an image you have created with your words. How black the fire’s raging, replaced by colours waving a new hello, saying we will survive. I like that your memory “whisper(s) a reminder of the immeasurable capacities of the human spirit.” That’s a great thought to keep in mind when life sends curve balls our way. I like this summation too: “It was beautiful and it was ugly. It was awesome and it was eerie.” Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

      • They only ever told us what they wanted us to know. They left out lots of the interesting stuff. They couldn’t include it, it would lose the boredom factor which lulled us into submission. A touch of excitement would have been impossible to deal with.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m pleased it wasn’t that bad for you. I don’t think I exaggerate for me (much).
    It’s interesting what you say about the fires. The same is true here. The indigenous peoples knew how to manage the land. We could learn much from their ways.

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  3. Pingback: Fireweed « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  4. I still have clear memories of smoke from forest fires in the Sierras roiling over the foothills behind my grandparents’ house in Carson City, Nevada. I would lie in bed, terrified, sure the flames would come sweeping down any minute and wondering why all the grownups were so calm! We’d drive through the mountains later and I’d see the bleak and barren remains and feel so incredibly sad. Your story brought that back, along with the hope that always grows in the wake of destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

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