A few months ago, raging fires devastated the Texas town of Bastrop and surrounding area. Over a thousand families lost their homes.  It was tragic.

Eric and I visited Bastrop on New Year’s Day, our anniversary.  We chose January 1 as our wedding date purposefully, as a symbol of BEGINNING.  And it was with that spirit that we drove the country roads around Bastrop and hiked the Lost Pine forests of Bastrop State Park.  What we saw?



Charred forests.

Like this.

And this.

[youtube m0yglvPQh80]

You could hear the echoes of their screams, feel their searing pain.

What we also saw?

New barns.

Houses partially framed out over old slabs.


New growth.

Like this sapling struggling up through dead pine needles.

And these ferns below hulking black shadows.

Last month, my 9-month old niece came with her parents to Eric’s father’s funeral.  One old gentleman told the Colonel how much it meant to him to see life in the midst of death.  Yes.  Life in the midst of death.  That endless cycle.  In death, life.  In despair, hope.  In disbelief, faith.

Thank you, Bastrop, for a beautiful start to our new year and the next chapter in our lives together.



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26 Responses to Hope.

  1. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    Standing it the middle of it with your eyes closed you just FELT how bad it was. Made a knot in your stomach. And yet there were signs of life like you said, that made you feel like it would eventually be OK. It will be great to go back next year and see the change.

  2. Kim McCune Jackson via Facebook says:

    Would have met you for a hug had i known you were here!

  3. Hi Kim! We will be back! And we’ll call! Today was on a whim. And I am so glad we did it.

  4. Terri Sonoda says:

    That was so lovely! Thank you for sharing. And Happy Anniversary Pamela and Eric!

  5. Kim McCune Jackson via Facebook says:

    It is very sad here, still takes my breath away when I drive past a place a friend would have lived and now it’s just slab. :(

  6. It was powerfully sad. You really could feel it screaming out everywhere. It made us both cry.

  7. Kim McCune Jackson via Facebook says:

    Yes, nature was very quickly offended that day, only two humans in all of that lost lives.. It’s also very amazing to see one house will be standing, not even touched while all the others around it were burnt down..this summer will be sad as more and more of the trees are removed, but will give room for sunshine and growth for the new ones coming up.

  8. Sandy Webb says:

    As an Arizona resident I have seen the damage forest fires can cause. This past year we had a fire that burned nearly 470,000 acres. It was the largest in our state’s history. I have also seen the regrowth and rebuilding, it is inspiring how humans as well as nature can come back after something so devastating.

    Happy Anniversary to you both!

  9. Ally says:

    We drove through an area in Northern California during and right after some horrible fires a couple of years ago. It is an eerie, deeply sad feeling to see it. I can’t imagine living it.

  10. Emilia says:

    I have seen a forest fire, but although is was not a major one, it looked unstoppable and powerful. As nature can be reborn, we, people can get over and start over again. A perfect post for a new year! Thanks!

  11. Irene says:

    Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Things like that make me wonder what I would do if a situation like that ever came upon me. Scary thought. I can’t imagine what these people went through as well as the poor animals.

    Mother Nature is pretty resilient. All the charred remains actually are nourishing the soil and any seeds that weren’t open were opened by the heat, add alittle rain water and you’ve got life! Amazing stuff. Good coming from a tragedy.

    I think that’s pretty neat that you went to a place like that on your anniversary on New Years Day. Witnessing a genesis of sorts just like your life with Eric.

    • Pamela says:

      Thanks, Irene. I agree, it makes you think about emergency plans. It also made us decide to cut trees back further when we build our house. The houses that survived had a nice 25-foot green space around them!

  12. Eric says:

    So much of life, how you see your life, and how you feel about it, is dependent on perspective. Walking through the burned out remains of the state park with you was really a powerful experience. A great way to start the New Year for sure.

  13. Tom says:

    Happy Anniversary Yall!!

    That was a nice piece on the circle of life. The Hawaiian Lei, circular in shape, is also a symbol of life’s course.
    By the way, tomorrow is Anna and mine’s anniversary….. on 1-2…. 2 became 1!!
    Love and miss you guys!

    Tom Strom: Rhythm Guitarist Summit Ret.

  14. Peter says:

    Very nice

    Sent from my iPad

  15. Eric Hutchins via Facebook says:

    We do pick interesting places to go dont we? AND it was an amazing weekend.

  16. What a fabulous beginning to the year. And I just love your voice. You could totally do voiceovers.

  17. Eric Hutchins says:

    I really like that winged avatar the blog is using for me. I want to keep it.

  18. […] Hall: http://www.chickenranchdancehall.com I feel like a travel guide to Texas after my last three posts (Hope, I saw God today, and this one). And now, back to our regularly scheduled program of finalization […]

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