Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The word Lent comes from an old German word that means springtime. This is the time of year when we prune back the blueberry bushes so they will give fruit, when we clear the debris from the garden beds and loosen the dirt. We are preparing the soil to nurture the seeds that will be planted there. This is exactly what Lent is about. We purposefully enter into this season looking for growth. We participate in the preparation by letting go of the old weeds and habits, of spent canes that will drain the energy from the fruiting of the plants, of old patterns of living that do not lead to Life.
We let go in order to present ourselves ready for transformation.
We die in order to Live.
We start with ashes and end with fire.
If you would like to receive ashes and don't know where to start: Any Catholic, Anglican or Episcopalian church will offer an Ash Wednesday service and ashes are given to anyone regardless of denomination (though please respect the church's requests regarding taking communion for which there may be restrictions). There are many Evangelical churches now offering Ash Wednesday services as well. I am confidant a quick google search will yield a several in your area.