Country Woman Paints

a seeker, painter, photographer, writer and fragrant rose lover~

branch acrylic on canvas
tree grove

grove in spring

The heat had persisted for several days, shimmering at dawn, heating the sky white hot.

It is always bone dry in summer as we rarely have rain past June.
The grass dries, turning to gold.
Surrounded by meadows, pasture grass and trees,
the fire danger is extreme.

 Home on the Range

Home on the Range – Black Angus

Fire is a fact of life~

We have put out many small grass fires that luckily were seen before they grew too large.
The smell of smoke or seeing it drift by the windows, is enough to make one’s heart race.
It is the summer scenario of living in the dry hills of Sonoma County.

One afternoon recently, I was out beneath the shade of the oak trees.
Occasionally there is the pop of gunfire.
A neighbor and hunter has begun to sight his weapons.
But close by is a staccato popping I cannot identify, like strings of firecrackers lit all at once.

The sound is coming from the eucalyptus grove a short walk away.
Leaving my patch of shade and iced lemon tea,
I walk through the fields toward the trees.
The forest sounds grow loud with the unusual sound. It seems strangely alive, as if something is happening within I cannot see in the dim light.


Eucalyptus planted 100 years ago as windbreaks.


Golden Eagle watching

Suddenly eagles, woodpeckers and hawks take to the sky, shrieking to their chicks.

A eucalyptus tree over 100 feet tall falls out of the earth.
Tearing from it’s roots, it hits the ground in a few seconds.

I feel beneath my bare feet, the tree’s weight as it collides with the ground.
The dust flies up with the birds.
Then all is eerily silent.

My heart slows it’s beat.
The birds call to one another, settling into their nests again.
Strangely, the next day, another fell.
It went quietly, without the resistance of the previous giant.
Then another split in two, dropping huge dry branches to the forest floor.

 The tree has fallen because of the heat.
It is nature’s way of thinning the trees.
The trees expand in the heat as the sap becomes hot, cracking and splitting in an attempt to regulate the temperature within.
Oaks, pepperwood and eucalyptus are notorious for their sudden leave-taking of the earth!
Usually they stand until the rains begin when the wind and water brings them down.

downed tree

fallen eucalyptus tree from last winter

The march of falling trees ended with the return of fog and cooler weather.
Then as it once again heated up, I noticed across the pasture, the drying carcass of a big pepperwood tree laying on the ground. Fittingly it was surrounded by vultures preparing to sun themselves.


Becoming awake involves seeing our confusion more clearly. ~Chogyam Trungpa


White Tree Trunks, Emil Nolde 1908

13 thoughts on “Tree Firecrackers

  1. Stacy says:

    The trees that you photographed are so beautiful – even the one that fell down and died. ❤


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      Thank you. 🙂

      Nature is beautiful when it’s doing it’s thing!



  2. Yes. California is parched in the summer. Love those trees.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      We’ve had a rather cool summer so far again this year but the trees must have more water in them or something… seems it might shower tonight!!!


      1. It has been cool and so dry. I have never been aware of so much dust blowing into my house. It’s like the desert.


  3. Poor trees, no place to hide.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      nope… no place at all but it’s cooler now… a weird freaky thingy of nature. 🙂


  4. Mel says:

    Beautiful…the photos, the words. I know there is a course we all take, and all things change. I don’t always like the change, but how many times have I bemoaned something that turned out to be a blessing, yaknow?
    What comes to my brain doesn’t morph out via my fingers right now, but oh what beauty you graced me with. Thank you.


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      hi mel,
      sorry i’ve been offline for a couple of days. sort of can’t use the computer like i once could. 😦

      glad you enjoyed the post. hoping all is going as expected there with you. much love xoxoxo


  5. Gorgeous tree and eagle photos, and accompanying text. I love the sepia tones of the pepperwood/vulture photo!


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      thanks so much, camilla. 🙂



  6. susancrow says:

    The pictures are lovely – that first one is my favorite.
    I wonder why I was reminded of this song?


    1. ĽAdelaide says:

      🙂 “What a comforting fact that is to know.” You crack me up! OOps, minus the pun. 😀


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