It is finally happening! The stars have aligned! Calendars have been beaten into submission, the weather has cooperated, and snotty colds have been banished–or at least ignored. And we are GOING TO GET TO PLAY WITH FIRE!!!!
I am the god of fire! What are we waiting for?! Come on, mortal! Get up off your meaty haunches and get your gear in the car. We have an outcrop to burn!
The human female and her plant-nerd compatriots have been talking about burning the outcrop for several years now. They haven’t done it because conditions and timing have to be just right–or so they say. Personally, I think they are just lazy. But today they are actually going to DO it. It is a cool day, not too windy, and it has been a bit damp over the last week or so. It should be fairly simple to keep the flames confined to the bit of rocky prairie they want to clear.
The human female is lecturing me. Don’t back the wind around. Don’t let the threatening rain fall until AFTER the burn. Don’t chase the humans with flaming branches. Don’t blow sparks onto adjoining property. Don’t encourage a canopy fire. Do keep an eye on Sigyn. Do remember that the house at the top of the outcrop, as well as all associated structures, is off limits. Nag, nag, nag. Shut UP, woman. I get it. Look–Sigyn is here. Do you really think I am going to take any chances?
The first thing to do is to establish the firebreak boundaries. The road at the bottom of the outcrop will serve well as one edge. We are now lighting a string of little fires along the top edge of the outcrop, between it and the house’s lawn.
Oh ho! Last season’s dry grasses burn quite nicely, and past-prime yucca leaves go up in moments.
The two experienced fire-setters are handling things on the face of the outcrop. The human female, Sigyn, and I are to remain up top, to make sure the fire does not advance across the lawn or stray to far to the side.
Cough, cough! It is very smoky up here now!
Rather like the time Thor and I accidentally set the stables on fire when we were lads, only with more juniper and less horse manure. The black thing in the image above is a heavy, rubbery, flappy thing on a pole that can be used to swat and smother any little tongues that try to stray.
Ehehehehe! Here comes the fire department. Someone was supposed to tell them we were doing this today. Wouldn’t it be funny if the human female got arrested for ARSON? Aw, shucks. They’re leaving, because the mortals apparently DO have it under control.
To be honest, they’re having to work to keep it all alight, dragging flames to individual bunches of grass. Still, the popping, snapping, roaring noise is tremendous, and it smells like all the campfires of my life, rolled into one.
I had some notion of breaking out the marshmallows and making s’mores, but Sigyn thinks we are far too close already and is beating a strategic retreat.
(A bit later.) The flames are gone now, more’s the pity. The fun part is over. Now the grunt-work begins, as the mortals plan to spend several hours cutting, clearing, and stacking weedy woody brush and small saplings. There certainly is a lot of yaupon holly on this rock! It’s quite a job, to weasel one’s way into the juniper thickets, find and cut the little trunks, and then haul all the waste over tricky terrain to the top of the outcrop where it will sit until it’s hauled away.
By my little horny helmet, what a lot of work! I’m exhausted just sitting here on top of the pile and watching.
I could, of course, snap my talented fingers and have it done in a trice, but physical labor is so improving to the human character. Tomorrow, the female will be stiff and sore, with a smoke-stuffed head and a load of laundry that reeks of ash.
Tonight she will lie in bed and wonder if they really did find and extinguish all the slow-smoldering embers…