The Tenderlands – Where there is sparks…..

Its Saturday night.  It has been a good day and a hard day.  Our whole family was in the saddle today as we participated in the Hubbard’s annual trail ride.  That was very good and deserves a whole blog post.  Towards the end of the ride Russ got a call from our man Ron, he was cutting the last of the hay and his cutting knife hit a rock, threw a spark and started a grass fire.  It all turned out better than anyone could have hoped for, no people or machinery were hurt, the neighbors’ cows were not affected.    We have lots to be thankful for.

After Russ got the initial call a series of conversations happened, most extremely brief,  some in person and some over the phone.  It all resulted in the Carievale and Gainsborough volunteer fire departments being dispatched, the nearest truck being hijacked, me jumping off the mule I was riding, and jumping in with Russ and one of the volunteer firemen who was on the trail with us.  We sped south about 30km to the pasture where the fire was. 

We arrived to find the fire departments on site and the fire completely under control.   

They continued to do what they train so well for and the fire was out before too long.  Little smoking hotspots were evident.  Our trail friend Gord had a steel broom he pulled out to start dealing with those.  I asked if he had a second one, he did, so I got to do something, which was a relief. 

I have titled this blog in “the tenderlands” series because of the way this event reminded me of how vulnerable we are.  It is humbling and heartwarming to need so much help and to get it. 

At this point in the late afternoon the temperature was 30 degrees celsius, the firefighter pictured here is in full protective gear. Thank you for being there.

As I stood on the prairie with the steel broom Gord had given me I had two main things I was pondering.  The news of the fire was scary but as I did my bit with my broom I realized I was handling my stress about it by playing the “it could have been worse” game.   I was relieved that the bad news we were reckoning with on this day was not about one of my family, one of my friends, or one of my friends’ kids being injured on the trail.  That is one of my biggest worries.  This fire was hard and upsetting but if I had to choose between being in an ambulance or holding a broom on a smoking prairie, I would choose that broom any day.  Ideally a day holds no big suffering, most of our days are like that.  But we are human and if you will excuse my language, shit goes south sometimes.   This particular storm of it could have been much more serious, much more.  We were given a reminder of how fragile the balance is and how vulnerable we are, but in the end were given a very easy pill to swallow. 

I also found myself thinking about the idea of “stewardship.”  It’s the idea that we are responsible to care for the people and resources that have been entrusted to us.  I am not sure I can put into words what my head is thinking, but bear with me.  The image of a woman with a broom is rather iconic in my mind.  It’s a big part of the tending work that I have done in all the homes I have lived in.  I like sweeping, its rewarding.  Standing on the prairie with a broom in my hand just gave me this very strong sense that I was doing the best I could in that particular moment to care for the land that I have been entrusted with.   It felt like an act of love.  I have a strong sense of love for our animals, but I have not had that feeling arise greatly regarding the land.  Maybe it was because in a very small sense, that land needed me.  I don’t know.  I just know that standing on the prairie with a broom in my hand was stirring and made me think in a new way about caring for our land. 

An aerial shot taken by a drone owned by one of the firemen and sent to us.

That’s all I got.  I am really weary.  It was important to write this tonight, to grab the heart action that was a part of this unexpected part of our day.  While my heart is the realm of the tenderlands, the lands we very literally tend are tender too.  It was a hard day for our Carievale field today.  Thanks to many committed people much harm was prevented.