Here we are. It has been 9 months since the fire destroyed our home in Circle D in Bastrop. The bulk of the clean-up is complete. After our last work day wrapped it has become easier to start the process of thinking about what to do for the revitalization of our property.
Even though there are still about 70-some pine trees to cut down and various other smaller trees, the clean-up process is nearing the end. After all, we had started right after the fire with sifting through the rubble and debris, moved on to separating and clearing away the metal, then sifting through and shoveling ash, continued with clearing away the brick, then had the concrete foundation destroyed and piled up. Then, most recently, at our May 19th work day, we moved on to the trees when volunteers helped us clear away over 30 pine trees along with a host of cedars and smaller trees. Bluebonnet Electric and the county had been very involved too early on in clearing away some pine trees that were near power lines. I felt pretty assured we would get the rest of the pines down slowly over the next few weeks or couple of months.
I headed out to Bastrop to get my routine update on the property and started thinking more seriously about how to re-shape it for the future. The May 21 deadline had come and gone and while the county had not yet cleared all the debris, they had clearly been there since my last trip. Some of the concrete foundation pieces were moved around, perhaps some even missing, and others had been labeled with green paint, assumedly for future hauling off. The county had cleared away the trees we had piled up at the front of the property during the last work day. None of the debris pile from the back of the property had been hauled off or disturbed, however.
As I walked around the property inspecting the land – studying the signs of erosion, looking for signs of wildlife, searching for new plant growth – I found a few signs of recent activity and life.
First I found a series of deer tracks imprinted in the mud. This isn’t new. I’ve been observing deer tracks on our property off and on for awhile now. But every time I come across them it just reminds me of the days when we would watch from inside the house as deer slowly ambled up from the easement into our backyard and nibbled on the sweet grass. I wonder if its the same family of deer from before the fire? If so maybe they remember our property as one of the safe havens to come and visit, despite all the changes.
The other discovery of this visit was some new plant growth: pink petunias. They seem to be randomly popping up all over the place. They add another splash of much-needed color to the landscape. Earlier in the spring we had yellow sunflowers all over the property. There’s still a few of those left, although most have died off now that summer is underway. But the petunias seem to still keep on sprouting up. I had to take a photo of one. It was a petunia growing up near one of the pines we had felled during the last work day but not yet hauled off . The stark contrast of that pink flower against the black-charred, sooty bark reminded me of how, as Jeff Goldblum’s character phrased it in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”
Personally, though, I’d rather think in terms of the grand design that is this incredible world God created, in all its masterful complexity and scale, and say: “God knew the way”.