The March of Fires
Fully enveloped in the dry season now for months, the earth all around us is covered in crinkly dry leaves, yellow dry grass and dry tinder branches. This combined with 30-40 mph winds makes this whole region a giant piece of kindling wood. The Guanacaste region has been on fire for weeks, all being fanned and directed by the seasonal winds, ironically the same winds we use to cool our house during the extreme dry heat of the day. It is a nuisance. The air is constantly wafting the odor of campfire about, permeating not just our clothes, but couches, cars, and curtains. The whole house smells like one giant campground, covered in black and white bits of ash. There have been times when we couldn’t see across the road as the thick gray yellow clouds of smoke smothered the road transporting the flames to the other side. During the day it is ugly, smelly and a nuisance, but at night the beauty emerges.
At night the burning red-hot spots glow brightly, some close some a distance away marking empty fields. The distant hills have beautiful rivers of fire flowing up and down their faces, remanent of a fresh purge of lava from a young volcano. The smoke is invisible. The fire is beautiful mesmerizing me much like a youngster at a campfire. Burned out stumps, trees spotted with red glows, fields glowing, and wind gusts creating dancing, crackling sparks across the dark night sky a slowly moving glow. It causes a desire in me to greatly improve my photography skills so that I may share what I see.
In the morning it leaves behind a matted black field and hillside, wounded smoldering trees, not dead, but wounded as soldiers slowly walking across a battlefield and a blanket of white and black ash. There are no personnel fighting the fire, no helicopters, police barriers, fire trucks, news cameras, it is just a normal day. Perhaps they don’t have the man power or the budget, or perhaps they don’t care, it is part of nature, part of life, a purge, perhaps it is Pura Vida. Whatever it is, it is now a part of the yearly cycle of our life. Next year, I will have a tripod!