An August Spring

This marks the sixth week since wildfire poured like lava into the northwest edge of the city.

It may be years before many lives are resettled, homes rebuilt, and traumatized souls find gentle peace.

Even as I witness and feel the ongoing disturbance, now, as I drive up through the devastated neighborhood, a strange thing happens: I feel a welling of joy. I have the great good fortune to be present at a rebirth and to lend a hand.

From the garden I am helping to restore, I see a wild meadow greening. Some of the Ponderosa, given only a few inches of rain, have pushed green needles from their branch tips. Up on the hillside, too far away to photograph, a shrub shines in the Chartreuse glory of new leaves. Birds sing. A hawk cries.

Several helpers and I have been carefully removing what branches and twigs the heat destroyed, revealing new life. The work is irresistable. The young growth makes me giddy.

Around two weeks after the fire, a rose, spirea, Euonymous alata “Compactus” aka dwarf burning bush, and Rose of Sharon had only tiny leaf buds hidden in brown stems. The meadow beyond the garden looked like a moonscape.

Five weeks later…

In the patio bed, lungwort, lupine, hyssop, daphne and more offer all the freshness of May.

Rosa “Nearly Wild” prooves just how tough and cheerful she is.

Petunias in rowdy bloom, were only basal leaves after the firestorm. We keep looking for the wild turkeys to come hunting and pecking through the emergent meadow.

Initially, I’d thought this honeysuckle was gone. It’s not only leafed out, but just beginning to bloom.

Though much here and more elsewhere is lost, the regeneration commands my joyful attention.

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