The past year has been witness to the worst drought on record here in Texas. A rainless spring extended into a scorching summer and then stuff just started going up in flames. Bastrop was probably the worst hit and a couple of weeks after the conflagration started over there, George Bush Park (here in Houston, on the west side of town) was ablaze too (started on the 13th of September, 2011 and was fully contained by the 14th). GBP has been one of my favorite places providing a much needed respite from the city and a place to get away from it all with the camera (the inspiration for my “Vespers” series was kindled out there & pretty much all of the photos in the series were taken out there too); or on the bicycle for a nice long ride.
This is what it looked like two days after the fire, when we were able to gain access to the park again.
… continued after the jump/below …
Now here’s the kicker – that broad expanse of ashes, is supposed to be wetlands! Yep, those trees under normal circumstances would be islands in a marsh of tall grass. The drought had dried up the wetland & the grass was just ready to burn.
For a bit of a reference, here’s a photo I took out there in December 2009. It was winter so the grass is brown but you get a bit of a sense of what it would normally look like.
A couple of days later on the 18th, we had the first rains in a long time. It wasn’t a lengthy downpour but it was quite a bit and more than we had gotten in a while. I was back out there in the park early in the morning and a lot of the grey ash from the photographs above had taken a deeper hue. Here and there, in the middle of all that charcoal blackness, life slowly returned. The thirsty, charred land had been given a sip water.
I visited the park again several days later. This time, late in the afternoon and close to sundown.
A number of weeks later, we had a touch of fog and I was overdue for a visit. I was glad I did.
I’m not much of a butterfly photography person, but for this photographic journey & witness of nature struggling back to life, it feels apropos.
There’s a bit of good news about the drought – we had a downpour here in Houston a couple of days ago. So much so that we had quite a bit of flooding! Well, that last bit is not very good news for those whose homes were affected & my thoughts are with them.
I think I’m overdue for a visit to park again especially after all that rain.
Have a beautiful weekend!
P.S.: Oh yeah, the fire and it’s remnants inspired this photo shoot that I did out there in the park.