Thursday, June 5, 2014

Forest Fire Meadow

I just returned from a short trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. The scenery there is incredible, the erosion through layers of multicolored rock creating fairy-tale castles against the canyon walls and multi-hued vistas that seem to stretch on forever . Surrounding the canyons in this highland, dense ponderosa pine forests cover the hills. 

One image that stuck with me was of wildflowers growing under the skeletons of charred trees. The tall pines were gorgeous, but as long as they shaded the forest floor, the wildflowers couldn’t grow. After the burn, the flowers took advantage of the sunlight to create a beautiful display of their own. 

Sometimes when I’m writing a story, I build whole forests of description or conversations that I love. It seems as though the words just flow so easily in those moments, and I can see or hear the passage clearly in my mind. However, once I’m editing, I occasionally find that those passages don’t really add much to the story or further the plot. I have to burn them away, so the wildflowers can get the sunshine they need to move the story forward. It’s not easy to burn away the trees, but sometimes it’s necessary in order to make the story flow. 

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