Saturday, May 8, 2010


Succession is what happens to an ecosystem after a major disturbance like a fire or a hurricane.
In my ecology class, we talked a lot about succession.
I did a whole twenty-two page lab report paper on the subject with graphs and pictures and loads of technical terms.
I talked about the differences in forest structure and species composition before and after a fire.
What did the forest look like?
Was the forest more diverse in species after or before?
Was one species dominating another?
What was the overall health of the ecosystem after the fire?
What was the differences in the unburned section of the forest and the burned section of the forest?

The ironic thing about fire in the forests around here in Florida is they do better after fire.
They are stronger.
More diverse.
And some of the animals do better too.

Another funny thing is most forests do well if the disturbance aka fire is not too frequent and not too intense.
Otherwise, the entire forest may die.
One species may outcompete another.
Invaders may come.
And the ecosystem may completely change.

I thought when Roger died my entire "ecosystem" was dead.
I thought the "fire" ripped through and destroyed everything.
And in some ways, I lost a lot of things about me that will never come back.
Some parts of me are extinct forever.

But I was not completely destroyed nor am I completely different.
Not all life from me disappeared.
There were small seeds of hope left.
Seeds that are recovering me.
Small seedlings are starting to grow.  Some new "species" and some old.
And in some ways I am starting to see the recovery in myself.
Starting to feel better than I was before.
Starting to feel stronger than I was before.
But still feeling a bit like me.

I will never be the same person 100%.
And grief is not just about Roger being gone, it is also about part of me being gone.
Part of me that cannot recover ever.

But succession does happen.
For better, for worse, it happens.


Kim said...

this is my favorite post of yours yet; beautiful.

Chillin' with Lemonade said...

Now, that's what I'm talking about!!! that's a great post!

Crash Course Widow said...

That's a good analogy...succession....I like it.

Yes, there are definitely parts of me that are more diverse, stronger, richer than they were before Charley died. And parts of me are totally extinct and/or permanently scarred because of it too. It's just taken me a hell of a long time to be able to accept the good parts too. I guess it felt like too much of a betrayal to think that I might have changed for the better in some ways because he died and isn't here? I'd still trade it all in a heartbeat, though, to go back to being unscarred, naive, and "stupid" like I was before. Sigh.

Thanks, Miss Bio Teacher, you! ;o)