There is a time after a bushfire when the earth is raw. Mother Nature's flesh is scorched and scabbed; all life has been taken or has fled from the horror of the flames. It is quiet in this desolate part of blackened earth; save for the cracks of falling trees there is no sound to hint at any kind of hope. But hope is there, you just need to know where to look for it and you need to have a little patience and give Mother Nature a little breathing space.
After a few weeks, and some soothing rain, green heads start to poke out of the soil. These tender shoots take the care of the sun and the cradle of the earth and grow stronger every day. Feeding on what was left behind and forging parts of a new future forest. The old trees who have withstood fires before start to shed the scars of this latest assault and rebuild, healing themselves as they have learned to do time and again. They did not leave in the fire, they did not die but nor will they ever be the same again.
As the old trees rebuild and the new sprouts climb further out of the healing earth signs of life return slowly; smallest insects, reptiles, and as the trees are able to support them, and the new shoots blossom with leaves, flowers and fruit, mammals and birds return to the forest. After ten years it was as if the fire had never been. Mother Nature cannot go back to what she was before the flames, never again will she be the same, but she has learned and she has healed and she has started to live again; brightly, brilliantly and beautifully.
Unfortunately we all have events in our life that raze our souls to the ground; illness, loss, disappointment, no one escapes. But from these we can rise again, never the same but still ourselves, whatever that new normal might be.
It is after these times that we can look to Mother Nature's example as we come back into the light of day.
Firstly, give yourself some time to heal, everyone is different with how long the path back will take them but you need to allow yourself time to become well. Discover what contributes to your wellness; what really feeds your soul and provides you with the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual nourishment that you need to enrich the deepest parts of yourself. We all need to have good foundations on which to build ourselves and if we aren't in touch with what brings us to a state of wellness then we are tending a garden in poorly nourished earth. Once we know how to achieve this wellness it is a life long goal to maintain the beautiful earth of our souls and bodies so that we can keep travelling life's wonderful journey and partake fully of every experience.
A strong, nourished foundation allows us to begin growing again. After we have experienced a huge change or loss in our lives often times we need to start so many things again; relationships, career paths, hobbies, interests, even basic lifestyle plans are all back to the beginning and it can be frightening. When we begin to grow ourselves again we are as tender as the first shoots of spring and we need to remember to take things slowly, grow in the direction of the sun, foster our souls carefully and not be afraid to try new and untested grounds. You can never outgrow the bounds of your soul. Your heart can never be too big.
We are lucky as we begin to grow again that parts of ourselves are not consumed by the flames. There are fundamentals that cannot be changed by life, mainstays that can be comforting in the face of having to rebuild everything else. Our families, our friends, those that mean the most to us and to whom we mean the most to, provide the love that we can use to build ourselves back up again. Your own inner strength, your personality, morals, ethics and beliefs are greater than you can imagine and are more old trees amongst the ruins. These things might flex and change in the face of disaster but they never truly leave us. Use these, seek to understand why they were not destroyed and you have uncovered the secret to what makes you a survivor. Why you are able to get through whatever hurdles are ahead.
As life moves on and seasons change we move apart from the tragedy and begin to blossom again, have faith that your soul is built to do this, to withstand greater forces than nature or any other power can throw at it. Respect the old oaks that have stood the test of time, and flame, and learn from their foundations what is important in your life, what gets you through, shows you life, even when everything else is stripped bare. Nurture the young shoots, take a chance in face of the wasteland to try something new and grow in a different direction. When you have nothing to lose, no more to give, you have freedom.
So when you face the ash and charred trunks after the fire: look at the sun, the good earth and the healing rain and say, "watch my garden grow".