Water and fire, renaissance and a dying back again

The banks of the lake by the Barrage des Olivettes were busy with dragonflies the other day. I spotted several different varieties – some tiny silvery blue ones that moved too fast for me, these red ones, one of which I managed to catch on camera as it flew away, and a lot of large blue ones that were happy to pose, and mate, on the leaves in the shallows.

We came home past the site of last September’s big fire, which I noticed in April was green with spring grass and flowering plants, although the trees will probably not recover for years.

Now nature has gone through almost another full cycle for the annual plants, which are dying back again after flowering, like like the grasses on the terraces here and this thistle:

And, a bit further along the road, there were signs of another more recent fire – probably someone throwing a lighted cigarette end out of a car window judging by its position. Will people never learn?

13 thoughts on “Water and fire, renaissance and a dying back again

  1. Given that since the time of Socrates, if not before, people have been asking if people will ever learn, it seems unlikely. But small successes do occur. And nature, bless her, seems capable of recovering from what we never think she will recover from. And yet…this global warming thing…there may be limits, even to nature’s ability to recover. Thank you for these beautiful dragons and damsels, and for the regeneration pictures, and for telling the truth about it all.

  2. We have the same problem here, we typically have little to no rain from June through October so the landscape is tinder dry, yet some people won’t use the ash trays in their cars. But, on the other hand, the landscape here is adapted to a certain amount of fire, some native plants, such as our iconic redwood trees can’t reproduce without the aid of fire, it takes the heat of a fire to open their tough seed pods. We had dry lightening strikes in many parts of the state in the summer or 2008 and a lot of the local wild lands burned that year. It is very interesting to see how the vegetation has been regenerating since then, there are a lot of seedlings of various pine trees and madrone trees which would not be growing but for the fires. And there was a bumper crop of morels that came on with the first rains after the fires. Not that I’m advocating tossing lit cigarette butts out of cars, but perhaps we needn’t interfere as much with the natural way of things as we do…

    • You’re quite right – fire is a natural part of the Mediterranean cycle and necessary to clear the ground for certain plants. I didn’t know about the redwood pods, needing fire to open them, but I know that fire areas are very good places to find wild asparagus the following year. It’s the scale of the fires that is worrying , though, especially near houses.

  3. I get irritated when my neighbor above us tosses his cigarette butts onto my terrace (or perhaps it blew out of his ash tray, who knows?), so of course when I see or hear about fires like this, it’s hard not to get angry. People will also never learn to stop throwing trash out of their car windows either.

  4. Not that I’m advocating carelessly throwing cigarettes out of the window, but of course wild fires are part of the natural cycles, where mature forests regenrate themselves giving pioneer species a chance to repopulate and regenerate the area. Of course there is precious little mature forest left anyway, so we should try and prevent fires as much as possible.

    • Yes, you’re right, Heiko, and I said this in my original post last September – that fire is part of the Mediterranean natural cycle, but it’s frightening when it comes close to you and gets out of control, and people should be more careful….but they won’t be, of course!

  5. It is sad, there are worldwide problems with fires, but no, it seems people do not learn, neither do they think. A fire causes so much destruction unless it is controlled burning, and so many lives both animals and people can be lost. Enjoy your day. Diane

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