Friday, December 16, 2016

My Encounter With Stephen Pyne

Throughout my research I stumbled upon a book by Stephen J. Pyne called, Fire on the Rim: A Firefighter’s Season at the Grand Canyon. This book encompasses 15 seasons of fire experience compiled into one summer. Pyne reflects on his experiences as a wildland firefighter and even occasionally challenges the Park Service that he was employed by. This book is not just some boring reiteration of wildfires that leaves you falling asleep and putting the book away never to open it again. It draws you in and keeps you turning pages, refusing to put the book down until you reach the end of the current adventure only to find the last page and that you’ve finished the book. I promise that if you read this book you will not regret the experience. Each reflection and story pulls you in to a point that you feel like you are right there on the front lines staring down the hot flames with a shovel in hand. I learned from Pyne that these treacherous events have an element of beauty to them and that element is a sense of kinship that is built through personal relationships. I have been fortunate enough to have had some wildland firefighting experiences of my own and I have found that these firefighters are more than rugged, unbathed, harsh individuals, they are kind, funny and I have no doubt that these people that I have just met would lay their lives on the line in order to help each other. So while fire is so dangerous and devastating, it also has a way of creating some very beautiful things that flourish in its absence.

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