The trilliums were—are—blooming; it was the right time of year. I drove a hundred miles into the Cascades with a map of past years’ fires, hungry for the miracle that arises after burning. But about eight miles out from the burn, the right turn I needed to make was blocked by a fallen pine and three inches of snowpack. My colleague and I lugged half a broken tree aside, but the main trunk was hopeless. We conferred and decided to hike in as far as we could, which turned out to be four miles, over a decent amount of snow and many more downed trees, before turning around. Sixteen miles in one day would have been too much, and at that late hour, with emergency assistance emphatically blocked by several dozen wind-felled pines, and not enough water on our persons, unwise.
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