Learning from Wildfire PITCH
Wildfires are natural and an ecological necessity but even in the heart of Glacier National Park a fire can't burn without clashing into civilization. On August 31st the fire burned down the 1914 Sperry Chalet sparking a fire of mixed feelings in the hearts of park rangers.
I'm proposing a story that weaves my journal entries about the fire with meditations on the value and character of wildness. The central idea is that wildness is in stark opposition to human civilization but also entirely necessary to the human spirit.
Below you'll find a few of the pictures, videos, and journal entries that I've gathered around this fire so far.
I dreamed I was walking through a young forest not quite regrown from the last fire. In my dream the song of a mountain chickadee was cut short by the rising wail of an air raid siren. It screamed in slow echoes through the forest. The sound was straight out of World War II and evoked an impending disaster. When the siren finally faded the forest was silent for a moment then a pack of wolves began to howl.
Thunder explodes overhead and I look up and realize its not thunder but an old stubborn larch snag being blown around by the wind between a few tall lodgepole pines. It’s tossed into one trunk with a low boom then blows down the side of another, branches breaking like lightning. I know it's dangerous but I love being wrapped up in wild things like this. Natural "disasters" have a way of making the civilized become wild again. Soon actual lightning echoes in the sky.
Afterward I'm told that the storm dropped 150 lightning strikes across Park. One of them ignites the Sprague Fire.