One day before my story about wildfires is published in the Ogemaw County Voice, Andy sits working at his desk. The phone rings. It’s the conference call from Habitat International that he’s been expecting. As he eases back for what he knows will be an extended conversation, a flicker outside the window catches his eye.

“I’m going to have to drop off here for a minute,” he says dryly to the group, as dry as the brush in our rain-deprived woods. “My backyard is filled with smoke and fire.”

Drew replies, “That’s more creative than ‘my dog ate my homework.'”


A 9-1-1 call later and Andy gets back into the call while the Lupton Fire Department puts out a fire at the edge of our woods.

Is this irony?

A picture of the edge of our woods where a brush fired scorched the ground in an area of about 150 feet. The trees are not fully budded and the sky is a deep cobalt blue.

The edge of our woods.

The cause of the fire was ashes from our outdoor wood boiler that I dumped out earlier that morning. Turns out they were still smoldering, even after cooling in a covered trash can overnight.

The fireman said, “I put mine in a cement bunker for a week before dumping them.”

Or stupidity?

A closeup shot of the scorched bark of a tree, close to the ground. The black melted thing hanging from it is a deer feeder tube left by the previous owners. The oak leaves on the ground from last fall are all burned away.


I prefer calling it experience.

In other words: surviving stupidity.

A near-the-ground shot of a baby fir tree that was licked by the fire, but hopefully still alive. Some of the needles are brown, but many are still green. It's like a "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree." The burned ground behind is just out of focus.


Categories: Andy | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Surviving

  1. Today we’re smelling smoke from that Duck Lake fire all the way here in the western U.P. Fires can be so scary…

    • Yikes! Yes, fires are very scary. When I was shooting the brush fire down our road the week before ours, the wind shifted and the flames roared in a wave my way–I sure got out of there quick! We were very lucky Andy was home–hate to think what we would have lost had he not been. Thoughts go out to those in the way in the UP…

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