Friday, October 25, 2013

Falling off the wagon (again)


Um..it sure looks like me. Hmm.

Like Brett Favre, I announce periodically that I am quitting. I will never fight fire again, I say. It's not the same, it's changed, all of the reasons are stirred and trotted out each winter. I even wrote an article that was syndicated around the country. You can read it here.

I really thought I meant it at the time, but you know how addictions are. They pop up when you think you've kicked it and there you are, back on the fireline again.

 We were setting the woods on fire to reduce fuel loads but honestly I didn't care why. It was just something to drag a steel canister of diesel and unleaded through the woods again. All of the other times I've done this added up in my head: the prairies of Florida in particular, me and Roger and Jen, a trio that I always thought could never be separated.

In the years since, I've gotten older and the boys have gotten younger. I trotted at a frenetic pace trying to keep them in sight. When you burn strips like these, you spread out parallel in deep woods, laying down lines of fire that you hope will gather strength from each other and burn together. You want to be able to keep the pace.

My pack was too heavy, heavier than my backpacks are now. My boots were all wrong, the old style logger kind, and they skittered uselessly on the steep, rocky soil. I bashed through trees and rocks and cliffs. For a moment, I wondered if this was that day. You know, the day when you can't keep up, when it all catches up with you and you realize you are never going to be young again.

I wasn't the oldest person on the mountain, or the slowest, so there was that. We crisscrossed the unit several times lighting it off. Some of it burned. Some of it didn't. I hadn't remembered how much I missed the whole spectacle of it all.

Any work type or athletic type thing you said you would give up, but just couldn't?



2 comments:

  1. I like the top photo. You have a slightly sheepish look on your face but the pose says "I'm here. What are you going to do about it?" Not to mention the bad-ass flames in the background.

    I quit running in my mind frequently. More than I even admit to Beat. It's not remotely in the same league as fighting wild fires, but on some levels I can relate.

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  2. Well, er...Brett Favre was asked this week by the Rams to take up football again (he didn't accept). For me, it's high elevation hiking...reminded myself this month that it's in my past, but still addicted!

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