For Forests Harmed by Drought, Fire, and Pine Beetle

Rob Meltzer
Steamboat, Colorado

Story Info

Radical Joy For Hard Times Stories Meltzer

Story & Experience

As you probably know, there are currently over a dozen forest fires burning here in the state of Colorado. Many thousands of people are evacuated and several hundreds of homes have burned. My close friends lost 2 buildings in the Weber Fire.

Many of the fires are burning in areas that were first degraded by the Pine Beetle, an invasive species that is ravaging the forests of our state. The fires are out of control because the trees are dead and dried up. It is like having hillsides of match sticks covering much of our state.

This weekend, for my Earth Exchange, I went up to an area that was degraded by the beetle several years ago. Some of the forest had also burned. At first glance, the area looks devastated. As you can see in the photos, there are miles and miles of apparently dead forests. The trees are brown, fallen, and rotting.

I spent some time alone in this forest, I did a ceremony, and I created some beauty. It was a wonderful healing experience for me. Last week brought continued struggle for my youngest daughter. She has been in the hospital dealing with some difficult medical and mental health issues.

What came to my awareness most strongly is that the Earth has no judgment about the beetle or the fires. It is what it is. The Earth also has no judgment about my daughter and my family.

To fully accept and create beauty in a devastated forest helped me accept all that is in my life and in my family. It may not always feel great or look pretty, yet I can still create beauty. What a wonderful thing!

Steamboat, Colorado


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.

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