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front button Front: FROM ASHES & DUST

A forest fire is a devastating event. Thousands, or even millions, of creatures are either burned to a crisp or left homeless and probably without much of a source of food. Vast areas of land change from a lush, verdant haven for life and growth to a barren wasteland of the naked spires of such trunks as didn't burn all the way through, and a cloud of choking ash that gets stuck in the throat and lungs of anything looking for water or nourishment.

There are many less natural events in human existence that have the same trait as a forest fire - war, famine, the onslaught of plagues and pestilence, or droughts across the breadbasket of farmland. These sorts of things are forest fires as well, in that they transform the bustling life of a healthy existence into some form of pervasive misery.

back button Back: GROW NEW FORESTS

In spite of the enormous power of destruction that a forest fire wreaks upon the world, there is a force more powerful - life itself. The barren wasteland left behind after a forest fire will not stay in that same state for very long: Even if a fire were to strike at the end of autumn, when dead leaves were piled on the ground to burn with no hope of reprieve throughout the dark and cold of winter, the severe landscape left as the remains of the destruction would quickly disappear with the arrival of spring: New life is always waiting to sprout from the ashes, transforming the world once again to a thriving carpet of vitality.

In a philosophical sense, so, too, go the affairs of humanity: Time and again we have seen our numbers ravaged by one form of destruction or another, some brought by the forces of nature, others by our own hands. In the end, though, we have always come back, with greater numbers and a broader range of diversity, better equipped to deal with a wider range of challenges.

Just as it happens on a grand scale, to forests and to civilizations, there are times in the lives of individuals where cataclysmic events change the best of lives to horrific experiences that seem more than a person should have to endure. Many - perhaps even most - people succumb to such twists of fate, but that need not be the case: Personal catastrophe, as difficult as it may seem while you are in the throes of it, must be looked upon as an opportunity to change, the chance to get rid of the past to make room for the future. With sufficient determination, one can move beyond difficulties of nearly any magnitude to build a new existence from the remains of what has fallen behind.

We have to accept, as part of life, events that leave behind ravaged deserts of death and destruction. In accepting these events, though, it is important to remember that from the ashes and dust left behind in their wake, new forests will grow to replace what had fallen victim to make way for the new life that comes after.

As always, comments are always welcome. We appreciate your feedback.

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From Ashes and Dust / Webmaster / Last modified August 11, 2003 @ 4:09 am

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