Tag Archives: wild fires

Redemption and Wildflowers

Just a quick Lagniappe (aka A Little Something Extra) Edition of BigLittleMeals.  As a follow-up to our Sonoma fire stories, we want to share with you the flowers that also follow-up fires.

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This and the 3 photos above were taken Sunday on our drive up the single-lane Nun’s Canyon road near our home.  Nun’s Canyon was the starting point for one of the four main fires in Sonoma this past October.  All of the black-ish wood pictured is burned wood.

Jeanne Wirka, who is Director of Stewardship and the Biologist at Bouverie Preserve – which suffered terrible damage to its 535 acres in the October fires and where Andy is a docent – gives a good overview in this newspaper article, which also has some great photos of the rebirth of flowers in our area.  Her article is also a perfect follow-up to our last blog on poetry.

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Eschscholzia californica – California Poppy


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Papaver californicum – Fire Poppy

Jeanne, thinking of the darkness and then the light and the beauty that has followed the fires, finds inspiration in the poem, “Poppies,” by Mary Oliver.  Admittedly, since my traumatic experience in my 20th Century Lit class, I’ve not been a big poetry fan, except maybe for Mona Van Duyn.  Van Duyn’s poem “Letters from a Father” still resonates with Andy and me and makes us smile; you’ve got to read the whole, rather lengthy, poem to appreciate it – and don’t let the “earthy” kind of language stop you. 🙂  The last line brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.  Just beautiful.

Redemption in Van Duyn’s poem seems to come from a birdfeeder,  while Mary Oliver finds it in wild poppies.  The poppies we’re seeing in Sonoma right now are not only the very common Eschscholzia californica but also Papaver californicum, also known as “fire poppy.”  Fire poppies also fit into the category of flowers often called “Fire-followers.”  The seeds of these plants actually need fire to reproduce and might survive years in the soil until that fire happens.  Then they live a few years – only to disappear – with their seeds stored away in the soil, awaiting the next fire.  If that isn’t redemption, I don’t know what is.

In Andy’s Corner  Andy tempers the wildflower excitement a little, lamenting about the foxtails that also come with the wildflowers.

Have a wonderful spring and appreciate the wildflowers –  even the foxtails – at least until they get prickly in the fall.

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Emmenanthe penduliflora – Whispering Bells – is also a Fire Follower





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