After the Fire

Last September’s fire changed the face of our mountain (Santaquin Peak).


Walking on the mountainside this morning, I could still smell smoke at times and ashes were so thick in some places that nothing had yet grown through. For Nature, however, nothing is final. After the white woodland stars and blue larkspurs and yellow arrowleaf balsamroot flowers I saw up there last month, there were new wildflowers aplenty today.



some sort of composite (that’s what my friend Sam, a botanist, taught me to say when asked about similar flowers)


sego lily


salmon gilia and (I think) fireweed


fireweed for sure!


goat’s beard


not sure about these little beauties


another composite and flax


not sure about these plants, flourishing in a hollow the fire jumped over


thistle and shadow photographer



this section of the mountain devastated . . . or why not say radically altered? this too is a state of nature


new life in the ashes. my finger for relative size. a tiny fawn walked through these ashes last night or this morning. life goes on

What I know about wildflowers I learned while riding mountain bikes with Sam Rushforth. One summer we watched a section of Mt. Timpanogos just inside Provo Canyon recover from a wildfire. New sprouts from scrub oak roots within days. (This and much more revealed in our book, Wild Rides and Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with Bikes)

About ten years ago, our scrub oaks and maples in Woodland Hills leafed out nicely. Weeks later there wasn’t a leaf to be seen. Canker worms ate them all. What did the trees do? They simply grew second sets of leaves. Life goes on.

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to After the Fire

  1. roughghosts says:

    As difficult as it seems, fires are part of the normal cycle of nature. The intensity and hectares burned are increasing in many areas though, and that is a huge concern.


  2. Pingback: Repetitions | THE GOALIE'S ANXIETY

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s