Every year in the spring we have a massive fire in my backyard. Apparently among rural residents lighting a burn pile is common practice. While caution is always recommended, this activity is not often seen as the annual ominous occurrence I make it out to be. What can I say? Both of my parents are from Pittsburgh, PA where yelling, "Fire!," is one of the only ways to seek the sympathetic help of strangers. I was not raised to think big fires are cool. I was taught to stop, drop, and roll at even the suggestion of a spark. For goodness sake we wouldn't want a one of a kind vintage coat to go up in smoke, would we?
Interestingly enough, the people of the Midwest seem extremely comfortable with the concept of lighting, "controlled," fires. Living in the country, there have been many times I have been driving home and witnessed giant plumes of black smoke coming from the general direction of my house. About this time I break into a cold sweat thinking, "Crap! Did I unplug my hair straightener this morning?!" It has taken me a while but I've finally come to terms with the idea that those of us living, "in the wild," may partake in what I used to think of as rather uncivilized behavior. We don't always use turn signals while driving. Some shoot guns and actually EAT what they kill. Lastly, many of us light enormous fires that rid us of the year's garbage, prepare the land for a fresh start, or simply in the effort to watch something cool. When really considering it, one could honestly state lighting a burn pile is an excellent symbolic reference towards physical and emotional rebirth in the spring.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, winter really gives me the blues. Keeping this in mind, there is something so final about lighting a huge fire to mark the end of it. It's like the period at the end of the last sentence of an extremely depressing book. I'm thinking something like, "A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich," depressing. A reader knows they just experienced something important but man, it was agony getting there. That's what winter is to me. I spend a lot of down time over analyzing life and while I often come to some pretty telling personal discoveries, I long for the petty days of summer and the distractions it provides. Not to mention, I always look forward to the annual wardrobe shift from winter to summer. It's always fun to get wild and show off a little wrist action with a three quarter length sleeve.
The reason the annual burn has been on my mind is the day I took these photographs the pile went up. While I was mildly concerned about the safety of my house cat if I left the premises, I acknowledged a stronger feeling of freedom as I watched the flames overtake the past season's wreckage. The weight of winter was suddenly gone and with it went the depth of my thoughts. It's now time to consider what my new summer sandals will be and if I can pull them off with socks. Mostly, it's time to leave the house without going back in to check if my hair straightener is turned off.
Boots: Sundance http://www.sundancecatalog.com/
Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana