Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Dead pine cone with new greenery

with 8 comments

Dead Pine Cone by New Greenery 6690

By September 6th it had been two years since most of the pine forest in Bastrop State Park and vicinity burned down. It had also been half a year since my last visit there, so I went back. Although the place still looked desolate—let this dead loblolly pine cone be an emblem of that—I did find plenty of new growth on a small scale—let the greenery beyond the cone be an emblem of thatas I had before, and as you’ll see again over the next several days.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM

8 Responses

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  1. As you know, fire is a destroyer. In nature, it also causes an explosion of new growth. Here on the prairies, fire is set periodically by people who are trying to establish the prairie grasses as they were. It is phenomenal how much it can improve a patch of grassland.

    I look forward to your next few of this place.

    Jim in IA

    October 9, 2013 at 7:22 AM

    • You’re right about fire clearing the land and encouraging new growth. Land managers in my area sometimes imitate nature and carry out controlled burns for that purpose. The 2011 Labor Day fire in Bastrop, unfortunately, came near the end of a bad drought, so the flames burned for days and days, ultimately claiming about 90% of the pine forest, way more than usual for a forest fire. (It also destroyed over 1600 homes.) Still, there has been new growth, and perhaps future generations will again get to see the pine forest.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2013 at 7:43 AM

  2. When I was there earlier this summer I was amazed at the diversity of the growth that was appearing. The poke was so huge and we were able to see some of the Oak trees producing new leaves. It’s also amazing to watch the reforestation that is occurring and how they are replanting the pines. It will take time but we plan on returning to see the changes.


    October 9, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    • Even when I was there just half a year after the fire I noticed new oaks coming up. Like you, on this recent visit I saw lots of pokeweed in one location (adjacent to the cabins). I won’t ever see the forest regrown, but I’m seeing the first stages in the regrowth. I’m glad you plan on returning from time to time to see the progress.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

  3. Une photo originale et j’enrage de ne pas y avoir pensé…
    Je suis ennuyée je ne reçois plus les newsletters de wordpress depuis quelques jours… j’ai du appuyer sur un bouton, mais lequel!
    bonne fin de semaine Steve


    October 10, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    • Moi non plus je n’avais jamais pris une photo comme celle-ci. Y a toujours quelque chose de nouveau à découvrir, n’est-ce pas?

      Je regrette tes ennuis avec WordPress.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 10, 2013 at 3:26 PM

  4. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. I still remember sitting here at the computer that day, checking the radar and noticing the signature of the smoke.

    A friend has had a century plant blooming in her yard. The blooms are gone and the huge stalk nearly collapsed, but it’s amazing to see the similarities between this cone and the base of her plant. She describes it as looking like a pineapple – which of course this does, too. Since learning about the Fibonacci numbers, it seems I see the designs everywhere.

    The photo’s lovely, and a nice reminder that death occurs in the context of life.


    October 11, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    • The house I was in before the current one had a pine tree in the front yard. (Pine trees aren’t native this far west in Texas and the soil in Austin doesn’t readily support them; why an earlier owner of that house had planted a pine tree, I don’t know.) The pine dropped plenty of cones, which I used to gather and bring in to my math classes so students could count the spirals, whose numbers are Fibonacci numbers. Pine cones and pineapples, various cacti, and other plants all exemplify the Fibonacci numbers.

      Not only does death occur in the context of life, but the other way around as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 11, 2013 at 7:54 AM

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