“There are the three types of fire : The fire of the great star , the sun. The fire of the earth that finds its heart in wood , and the fire within the human being that is centered in the solar plexus. ” Ovate Teaching.
Im running through the forest at night . Breathing hard . Trying to dodge through scrub .Im carrying Betty Two Bars bear cannister . Its empty . ‘El Gringo’ just busted into camp and rousted us . An unwitting (unwittfull) camper has started a fire that is out of control .
El gringo is ahead of me and im running in his tracks . He leaps like a mountain goat , one foot on an impossible bolder and over a creek , i take a breath , follow his footsteps , and im over too . He leads us to the site .
On the other side of the creek ,we make it to ‘Smoking Moose’ and ‘Gilligan’ they are desperatly working to quench the red hot coals . Guss arrives , we start bucketing . Three trees are burning at the roots , deep under the earth the ground is red hot . This does not look good atall . I can see that the fire has worked its way deep underground.
My first reactions are safety . Do we run for cover ? Do we send a runner back the forty miles to Kennedy Meadows ? Does this fire need proffesional attention . There is no reception here . We are bucketing as we shout our ideas and our concerns to one another . It looks too big to contain , even with six men on the job . More buckets.
We work hard , im throwing water and wet mud at the base of a dead tree that is burned almost half way through . We’re concerned it could fall and spread like tinder . The lads are digging a fire pit around the trees to prevent the fire spreading through the pine needles that are four inches deep all over the forest floor . They are working their ‘buts’ off . Fire can spread through the ground layer so easy here , we have to make sure this is well and trully doused.
Eric arrives with his bucket and makes a quick assessment . He has a lot of experience with this kind of caper as he is from Ozzy . He knows that we can contain this if we work together and dont panic . More buckets .
Part of me is desperate that its the beautiful Jeffery pine trees that are getting burned by someones negligance . I dont have to imagine the utter devastation this would cause if it got out of hand . I feel like a child on my knees with a suffering friend , i really am desperate to put this fire out . Im working my heart out .
More buckets .
We are stamping hot coals that seem to spring back from nowhere . Im grateful that the other hikers are all here . Just for a few moments earlier whilst the others where filling buckets at the creek I was completely alone in the dark with the fire . A very humbeling experience . Scared to say the least .
We connect now in a way that is beyond words . Working towards a common aim . Its clear how dear each one of these men holds nature in their hearts . More buckets . The time streams past . Im ramming mud into burning bark and praying out loud as the fatigue is starting to draw me down . More buckets .
I think of my Druid grove . They are all around me . Their energy supports me and I realise that im working with the trees . All my life ive loved them . From the Beautiful watery willow in the garden when i was a child to a huge maple i used to visit in Chester , from the trees of Angor wat to Avalon . Now Im here on my knees learning some hard realitys of saving a forest .
More buckets .
The fire abates , the temperature has dropped . Hours of work and attention . We stop and check in with each other . Gilligan,Gus,El gringo ,Moose , Eric ,all in a circle . I have no experience , so bow to Erics assessment . :’ Its safe . Lets sleep . Hike tommorow and notify authoritys as soon as we can get some cell reception ‘. The lads sleep close to the fire zone in case it starts smoldering again in the night . They have some full buckets on hand.
Sleep comes very late tonight . Wired by adrenalin and insights , my last act is too stash my bear bag high in the rocks and stretch out on my ground mat . I did not expect that today .
Earlyer id sat in a grove of pines and had lunch .
Saw my first Marmet . How cute are they !