Recently, I participated in a woodland prescribed burn with my MDC colleagues. All was well orchestrated — burn lines prepared, conditions just right, checklist implemented, equipment ready. It was time. I watched the flames as they crept across the forest floor, sometimes catching downed logs that blazed hot and uttered sounds like roaring wind.
I couldn’t help but think of the irony of this burn happening on Good Friday. The scorched earth, the scars left behind on bases of larger trees. All seemed lost for a time. Much like it may seem today amid this epic pandemic that we’ve not faced before — with fear and uncertainty casting dark shadows. Anne Frank said, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God.”
Missourians have taken to this remedy. Over the last weeks, as much of the world has shut down, so many more have sought solace and healing in nature. Our conservation areas, boat ramps, community lakes, parks, and other outdoor places have borne witness to our innate need for nature.
The forest floor will return — healthier for the burn — without the added burden of invasive shrubs and vines. And we, too, as Missouri families and communities will come through this dark time. There will be scars, yes. But may they remind us to care less about the unimportant things and more about those that matter — faith, family, community, nature. Restoration is near.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
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