Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Regeneration is a long, slow road

Our first shock of the trip was the price of a ticket to drive through Kosciuszko National Park. $16.00!!! And thats the off-season price! Well, we are going to be investing in an all parks pass very soon, I can tell you. Whoa!

The second shock was the hectares and hectares of seemingly dead trees. Its only once you finally find a place to pull over and have a good look that you realize there has been a bush fire through here, sometime in the last few years.

Most of the trees are regenerating, a process Id like to fully document one day, as its so spectacular and wondrous. But many trees are beyond coming back. It filled me with a strange mix of feelings. This is how it is, but what do the animals and birds do to survive in the meantime? Life is harsh, no matter your species. And yet, where there were dead trees, thier seeds finally had light and room to sprout and grow, the circle remains unbroken. Despair and hope in the same space...I will save pondering that further for a day I have more time to philosophize.

I havent yet mentioned how sweet the air was. That may sound cliche, but I mean it literally, the air was sweet. Was it the abundant wildflowers and flowering shrubs? The atomized oil from the young eucalyptus trees? Altitude above the smog? We dont know for sure, but when we did come back down later, we could smell fried food on the air for several kilometers outside of town. Sad, but true.

The light here is very harsh, and you can tell that from these photos, especially the centre one. I have a UV filter on one lens, and a polarising filter on the other. The colours with the polarising filter are superior. I will upgrade that UV to a polarizing as soon as possible!


Melanie said...

I know a few times I have driven through a patch of forest affected by bushfire and it always catches my breath. The utter devistation and loss, then rebirth and regrowth. Mother nature is truly awesome and frightening.
Interesting about the filters. I might have to try a different one too as I only have UV filters.

Young Werther said...

Got one of those annual passes, handy things and one gets the warm fuzzy feeling of being in an exclusive club... rabble I'm not :)

kj said...

lavender, the most striking thing i've ever seen happen to trees was the water lines in new orleans after hurricane katrina. growth and life at the top of hundreds of majestic bushes and trees, but utter grey death from the ground up, that because of floods 6-20 feet high.

keep shooting. i'm on this trip with you.

Anonymous said...

It is quite necessary for some ecosystems to regularly burn in order to renew and give new nutrients to the soil. Eucalyptus forests are a very good example. Most of the plants growing there are actually very well adapted to the fire and the trees survive or can easily resprout from underneath. There are seeds that only germinate after a heat shock from the fire. And the sweet air comes from all the ethereal oils the plants emit "in order to cause fire", that are very volatile and usually easily flammable. So, you see. The ecosystem needs the fire. The problem is only that fire frequency becomes higher and higher within the last decades (often caused by humans) and ecosystems cannot recover so well anymore...

Lavender said...

Melanie Its a real wonder, isnt it? And yes, definately have a look for a polarizing, I promise its worth it. And especially a circular polarizer, it will allow you to adjust the filter to accomodate any angle of the sun, to eliminate glare and - well, like a pair of polarizing sunglasses do (In fact, one year at the beach, I just held my sunglasses up in front of the lens for every shot LOL!!!)

YW Indeed! Jolly good not to be rabble, My Fine Cultured Friend! Its quite another to just be out 'slumming it' now and again though, hey old chap? (LOL)

KJ Wow! I can imagine what that would be like, and its quite the image! I so admire the resilience of nature, (and covet it to!) :) We get a bit desolate again tommorrow, but it picks up again after that - and there is another exciting bird coming soon, Hooray!

Areeiro EXCELLENT! So well said and so succinctly...I couldnt have done it in under 12,000 words, LOL! Thanks Areeiro, and you are so right. The Australian ecosystem is especially adapted for fire, and in cultivating many native plants, we have mimic that process to germinate many species of plant.....well, you know that already, LOL Thanks Mate!

sandy said...

We've had incredible fires around here, 2002, 2003, and a few smaller ones since then. The trees look similar to what we see around here after the fires.

Enjoyed your latest posts.

Lavender said...

Sandy Amazing arent they?! Its very inspiring. Hope you enjoy the rest of the trip, Cheers!