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Wood, Hay, and Stubble


Spring. Idaho. The Pacific Northwest. Winter's blanket of white has melted away. Refuse of dead timber, branches, and stumps piled and ready to burn. Our task was simple, but tiring. Wet wood waiting.

Striker lights torch. Flame touches debris. Bokeh burns bright. Dark skies above: snow, hail, and rain; each take their turns to fall downward upon us. Snow shivers. Hail hits hard. Rain wets. Lightning strikes. Thunder rumbles.

Family works to fuel the flames. Forest flotsam. Fire licks and spreads. Growing and consumes as more waste is piled onto pyre's plate. Bonfire belches blue smoke as flame feeds off death and ash. Smog drenches and engulfs. Fervent heat is felt through protective clothing. Wood cauterizes, chars, and blackens. Slash. Scald. Scorch. Never satisfied. Dark skies grow light as spring sun pierces the darkness. A cacophony of sights and sounds as wood snaps, crackles, and pops while heat warms and smoke's scent singes.

While working, I am reminded of the passage in 1 Corinthians. “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble—each one's work will become manifest, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” [1 Corinthians 3:11-13] I watch the heap of embers and smoke; nothing is left but ash and ruin. Work's rubble remains. Example laid before me.

Let our foundation be laid upon gold, silver, and precious stones.













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