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from ashes

after i had breakfast with manda (read more about that here), i went with my dad and chris to dad's deer lease in avinger, tx. pretty much everything there was destroyed last september when a wildfire ripped through the lease. we went to sort through some of what was left behind and bring home what we could salvage.

while i would love to tell you all about how much fun i had watching my husband load up more "white trash equipment" to put in my back yard for safe keeping until he could transport it to his deer lease, it was actually kind of nice to have a few quiet moments to think. i took advantage of being outside and brought my camera to document some of the day so that i could share it with you.

landscape 1

but while i was hiking around what used to be lush wooded areas full of tall pine trees and teething with life, i started thinking about other things. take this picture for example. i'm standing at the top of a hill that i probably would have never been able to get to if it were still covered with loblolly pine trees. for those of you not from the piney woods of east texas, loblollys are those incredible tall pine trees that have minimal branch action. they are harvested and used to make 2 x 4s and other long skinny chunks of wood used for framing out homes and the like.

so imagine this view last september. in fact, there probably wasn't a "view". it was probably thick as thieves with pine trees, undergrowth, thorny rose vines and baby pine trees.

burnt tree stumps

now it is pretty much nothing. where there used to be looming trees and shaded woods, there are skeletal remains of charred trees and small spurts of grass here and there. there were signs of the destruction everywhere.

burnt picnic table 2

melted and charred picnic tables

burnt trailer cover

this used to be the cover over someone's travel trailer. i think it is the only one left standing after the fire.

travel trailer

this is what remains of my dad's travel trailer. the frame has been scrapped and sold for money to help rebuild the lease. i spent many nights in that trailer all over texas. and now it is just simply gone.

round stand1

this is the base to a deer stand my dad used to hunt in. this is one of the pieces we salvaged for my husband to take to his deer lease.

burnt lock

this is what remains of that deer stand. just the lock that held the door shut. the actual enclosure itself is gone.

but you know what. it's growing. life is returning after it seemed to be ravaged and left for dead last fall. there are signs of it everywhere.

right of way

the grass is growing in the right of way again.

butterfly 1

there were butterflies everywhere. i'm shocked i caught a picture of this one.


a random little patch of potatoes. this one was really funny because the guys at the lease had no idea they were growing potatoes. they probably just threw one out and it did whatever potatoes do.

purple flower

yellow flower

flowers here and there

tiny pine tree

new pine tree growth. i imagine in twenty years or so someone will either have a bow stand in this tree or it will be planed into the framing for a new house.

deer track 2

deer tracks

animal tracks

black widow spider

even creepy animals are returning. my husband dropped that sucker like it was hot when he saw this black widow inside it. eep!

turkeys 1

even a couple of turkeys i managed to get a picture of while literally hanging out of the window of the truck. yeah - that was hilarious.


even thought these signs of life are small, they are certainly there. small bits of nature to keep us firmly anchored to the belief that even after a torrential, all-consuming fire tears through a place that is ripe with life and leaves nearly nothing behind, there is a rhythm that cannot be disturbed.

fire, rain, flood, fear, death, storms, drought. these are all things that can attempt, and valiantly so, to disrupt the heartbeat of life that God plays his drum to. but even though these disasters, life prevails. God prevails.

we all feel a little dead inside sometimes. like something precious inside of us has been ripped away. it can be anything you hold dear - a mom, a sense of security, a child, a dream, a passion. the uncontrollable forces in life can, and most likely, will take something from us that we hold dear. these forces cannot be stopped. some can be controlled but they will do their damage to us.

that steady thrum of life left behind is all we can have to hold on to sometimes. the drip of rain after a drought, the rush of wind that blows the last storm cloud away, the rainbow after the tornado... the alarm going off at the start of a new day, the cathartic relief after a good cry, the smile on your face when a memory crosses your mind. these are little reminders that God is still on your side and still in control, ready to introduce new life where one thinks nothing can be grown.

from ashes God can create beautiful life. listen for that rhythm if you are in a low place. the steady beat of your heart is a good place to start. the life behind it is worth exploring and worth allowing God to provide the rhythm.

thump, thump, thump.

♥ ♥ ♥


  1. beautiful post Skye. So glad that life is returning. The wildfires were awful and a lot of people lost everything dear to them. We are so blessed that God chooses to let the cycle continue and wildlife is already coming back to the area!

    1. Thanks Manda! :) It was surreal to see how much was gone but really refreshing to see life returning to the area! :)

  2. Awesome pics! Spring is such an awesome time of year :) I can't believe you got close enough to get a pic of that spider tho... i would have been cringing and running in the other direction! lol

    1. Oh yeah - that spider - I definitely zoomed in as much as I could and then snapped that picture QUICK before she could jump. Yikes! :)

  3. Amen, sister. Preach on. I love the photos and what you have to say about them. I hope that you, too, will look back on this post when you need it from time to time.

  4. beautiful.
    thank you for the reminder to slow down and listen to the rhythm of your own heart beat. It's always there, but we are too busy to hear it.

    1. it is my pleasure - i have to physically remind myself over and over to stop and listen for God and listen to my own heartbeat. It is so easy to get swept up and distracted with everything in the world!


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