Burning Fields (Not Bridges)

Burn fields, not bridges.

There are relationships we need to burn down. They become toxic for us, and we need to reset without the other person in our lives. Move on, get bent, etc. I used the expression above recently ("burn fields, not bridges"), and a friend replied that sometimes bridges need to be burned. I think I disagree.

When you burn a field, you strip everything down. Anything that was hiding in the tall grass either runs away, is destroyed or is exposed. The roots remain beneath the surface, but for the moment, everything is purged - the good, the bad, that which was already dead, all the creatures who have been hiding and their hiding places, etc. There is once again a wide open field, primed for new growth, new opportunities and new life, no longer choked out by the tangled grasses and weeds of yesterday.

There are relationships worthy of new beginnings, needing purged and revitalized. As my aforementioned friend suggested, however, there are those that are not. For the latter, isn't it still better to just burn the field and not the bridge? Perhaps someday, things will change...perhaps you change...perhaps they change...perhaps the passage of time grants fresh, new perceptions and maturity. Maybe healing becomes possible.

Even if you never enter that field again, I believe there is comfort or emotional health in the knowledge that you could if need be - that you didn't burn the bridge. At the very least, someday you might be able to see it in your memories from afar, not as the tangled mess it became, but resembling the open field, full of promise, vibrancy & life, that you originally knew.


Let go of your fear, & be.

You can "be" all sorts of things...you can be careful, be reckless, be generous, be shrewd, be unkind, be welcoming, be together, be alone...and you can be all these various things to no end. But at the very least, and perhaps even the most, you must simply BE.

No external circumstances can affect this, perhaps even death. Nothing can truly take your "be"ing. So relish each moment, let go of your fear and BE.

Additional food for thought, for all you Judeo-Christian sympathizers out there. The Judeo-Christain God's name is Yahweh - I AM. The greatest "be"ing simply is, and that is apparently enough said about His name, his essence & existence. We are purportedly made in His image. 


A single wildflower, among tall grass
Buffeted by swirling winds
Bends every which way
Buffeted by tall grass
Bending every which way
Buffeted by swirling winds
Tall grass, surrounding a single wildflower

They wait for calm, sunny days
They wait for gentle, nourishing rains


There are many forces upon us - our friends & our enemies, our acquaintances & strangers. There are those who love us, like us, hate us or are altogether indifferent towards us. Yet, they remain forces upon us, regardless.

Then there is the world & reality. These are forces upon us all. We're all in this together, whether we like it or not.

Mountaintop View

A fervent man spent his life pursuing truth up the side of a mountain. Upon reaching the mountain peak, he looked out over the earth and said, 'Finally, I see.'

On the opposite side of the world, another man, eager for truth, completed his journey to the top of a mountain. He too looked out over the earth and said, 'Finally, I see.' Basking in the truth before their eyes, neither man realized the other man. Neither saw that at no point did their two mountain top views reach and overlap with the others'.

They laid down to die, smug & satisfied in their ignorance.

A Note from Joe: I originally wrote this (very) short story around the time of the election, and I had been pondering the illustration for several months. The older I get, and the more I see in life and throughout the world, the less I trust my own perceptions and impressions of the world, its people and our realities; because my experiences and perceptions are so limited to my time, place and reality. The only logical conclusion, in my opinion, is to stay humble, remain open & slow to take offense or anger. Give your neighbors, and your enemies, the benefit of the doubt. We are all only able to see so far.