The hills will look lifeless when you return, the char infinitely deep, like death on a cracker but the cracker has burned and so has the plate. But before the ravens, getting soot on their jet, remove the last body of evidence of life that was, the hills' funerary garb will be sullied, pimpled, with brown. The refugees are returning from the underworld. Gophers, their digging fanatical, already are turning the ash down into the soil that insulated them, churning the living earth to the surface, and making withdrawals from the seed bank. All the dungeon dwellers of their domain, moles and voles, snakes and salamanders, beetles and bugs, are filing out of Hades' unguarded gates, hunting water, and each other. Plants whose ancestors have persisted through every fire for ages are doing it again, resurrecting themselves according to each family's tradition. Deer who fled to the valley are hoofing it back to the unburned patches, nibbling everything that isn't too crispy, and trying to catch the scent of mountain lion through the dissipating olfactory roar of fire. Seeds will ride up the hill on pelts, and wind, and in cheek-pouches and colons, joining the feast of uncontested soil and light. Ashen mountain mourning garb will give way to a new morning's green and the united kingdom of death to rebellious, fractious life. As surely as the gophers make the soil boil in slow motion, the forest will return, and forget, and repeat its mistakes.