Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scorched things

1. Scorched Heart, found driftwood
2. Scorched mountain top airplane beacon
3. Scorched Alligator Juniper Bark, oil on canvas

The Chiricahua Mountains, as some of you may know, suffered a devastating fire last summer. Basically the fire tore through the whole range, skipping around some and taking weeks to do it's damage. I listened to the reports and prepared myself for the worst coming down here this year. It has been a learning experience to see what the fire wrought and subsequently to witness the earth's healing. One of my favorite places was Rustler Park, big Ponderosa pines at the summit. This area was badly damaged and these pines won't return in our life time.
The Scorched Heart is one of seven driftwood hearts I have found in the creek bed, a result of the fire. I found one, then kept on finding them. Are they cliche? Or are they a universal experience? Jim Dine's hearts come to mind. Anyways, findingwhile them I have been thinking of all the broken hearts out there: a friend mourning her mother's stroke; friends mourning the devastation to the environment of future fracking; a friend mourning the loss of a relationship; friends mourning the loss of a forest because of fire; friends mourning the loss of pets.... At times I wonder how we all get through it. Maybe it can help a little to contemplate the universality of it all.
The second photo if from a hike I went on a couple of weeks ago to the heights of the Chiricahuas. The fire did great damage up there, rocks exploded and broke apart, and some areas burned so hot that the soil is still sterile and nothing has grown back. We came upon this charred structure that used to be a beacon for airplanes, making sure they didn't crash into the mountainside.
The last photo is of a small bark study I did. The Aligator Juniper has very unique bark, probably with some fire resistant properties as it is very thick and scaly. I keep coming upon burned trees and wanted to try and paint that scorch.....

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