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Burn baby, burn

5 min

The resilience in us ... as told through the pines

Two years prior, a large bushfire had devastated much of Kangaroo Island in South Australia. We drove across the island during a much-needed family holiday and observed areas where new growth was flourishing, or at least visible. We must have seen pine trees because, in our chat about natural and controlled fires, my husband mentioned that pine seeds could lay dormant for years and quickly sprout right after a fire. Something about the high heat, the intensity, set them free.

This was a fun fact that I took to heart because it felt like we were going through our own renewal in more ways than one at the time. I also thought of my sister and her situation at the time; she had been through hell and back. Like never before, I understood that sometimes a new thriving version of life—from seed to sprout—requires intense and destructive fire. 

We recently stayed amongst the pines with CABN, and the fun fact from two years ago rushed its way back into my mind. Except this time, I could see it from the other side of the burn. I had dormant seeds within me that had needed a blowtorch. My beautiful seeds had pleaded and shouted to be set free. My “fire” came in ways that I’d never experienced before. As challenging as that period was, it was needed to activate new thoughts, behaviors, and patterns for my personal and family’s well-being.

CABN in Kuitpo Forest, South Australia

“In a world brimming with constant stimuli and distractions, the power of Nature stands as a delicious sanctuary for the human mind. By immersing ourselves in the natural world, we unlock the potential for clearer thought, richer creativity, and groundbreaking discoveries. 

- Susie Deville

Looking to nature for how to be comes naturally — we just need to get still enough to see and hear the blueprints she generously shares. I know it is easier said than done, but those quiet moments can feel revelatory when they happen. 

In such moments, I’ve been inspired to write about life cycles, the slow yet determined pace of garden snails, wisdom from dandelion weeds, and making room for things that matter. Contemplating the cycle of pine trees and forest fires definitely fits the blueprint bill. 

Let’s read the following with a personal lens: Imagine these words from the National Forest Foundation and American Forests are about people’s lived experiences, not trees and forests but about being human.

“Fire can be damaging, and its effects certainly scar once verdant landscapes. But this destruction can also prove beneficial. In recent decades, ecologists and land managers have realized more fully how important fire is to the natural patterns of many ecosystems. This pattern, known as a “fire regime,” is different for each ecosystem. Each fire regime is important to maintaining forest and grassland health, even if it seems harmful at first glance."

Applied to humans:

The crazy shit we go through can actually help us and help others in the long run.

“Naturally, periodic forest fires help to clear away old brush and allow for new growth. While fire can be menacing, it can also be helpful to forests in unexpected ways."

Applied to humans:

We need to periodically cleanse ourselves of situations, behaviors, thoughts, and narratives that no longer serve us. We can’t get to where we want to go by carrying dead-weight baggage. Letting go, however difficult it may be, creates the space we need for the blessings we don’t yet see.

“Some trees are even fire dependent — such as many pine and eucalyptus trees — and only seed after a fire event when the soil is rich and there are no obstructions to sunlight in the lower canopy.”

Applied to humans:

Go through the bullshit to get clear on the next steps for thriving.

CABN in Kuitpo Forest, South Australia

On fire-induced sprouts:

“This fire-survival strategy allows for the complete destruction of above-ground growth. Typically, species that regenerate by re-sprouting after they’ve burned have an extensive root system. Dormant buds are protected underground, and nutrients stored in the root system allow quick sprouting after the fire.”

Applied to humans:

The stronger our sense of self and spiritual connection (i.e., our “roots system”), the faster we bounce back from challenging times.


On serotinous cones:

"In environments where hot, fast moving fires are frequent, some pine species have developed very thick, hard cones that are literally glued shut with a strong resin. These “serotinous” cones can hang on a pine tree for years, long after the enclosed seeds mature. Only when a fire sweeps through, melting the resin, do these heat-dependent cones open up, releasing seeds that are then distributed by wind and gravity."

Applied to humans:

Devastating life experiences can shut us down mentally, emotionally, and physically from childhood through adulthood. But we’re not meant to be closed up and “hanging on” to truly live our lives. Each new challenge can be an opportunity to open up and set ourselves free. 


On fire-activated seeds. 

"As opposed to serotinous cones, which protect enclosed seeds during a fire, the actual seeds of many plants in fire-prone environments need fire, directly or indirectly, to germinate. These plants produce seeds with a tough coating that can lay dormant, awaiting a fire, for several years. Whether it is the intense heat of the fire, exposure to chemicals from smoke or exposure to nutrients in the ground after fire, these seeds depend on fire to break their dormancy." 

Applied to humans:

We may walk around with a mask on and be oblivious to the one we’ve put on, but eventually, we’ll find ourselves in a new place and time with new influences that force us to take the mask(s) off.


"Without the right kind of fire regimes, some trees simply can’t reproduce, and overall forest health can be negatively affected. At the same time, unnaturally severe fires can destroy forests, even those that have adapted to fire."

Applied to humans:

Without being open to change or challenges, we simply can’t grow—our spirit practically requires it for optimal health. And because there are always external factors at play that we can’t control, we do our best to be spiritually engaged and weather any devastation that comes our way.  

CABN in Kuitpo Forest, South Australia

Thank you, Mama Nature.

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