The Dead Skin

A close-up of the dead skin of a saguaro that was burned in a fire on the Overton Trail in Cave Creek Regional Park in Cave Cree, Arizona. Taken on January 31, 2021. Original: _RAC3778.arw

In January I headed up to Cave Creek to a trail that was new to me, the Overton Trail. I didn’t know it went through an area that had burned so I wasn’t prepared for the emotional punch of seeing such magnificent creatures that grew so slowly in God’s hands and died so quickly in ours. At first I hiked straight through the burned area but then I forced myself back up the hill to sit with the devastation for a while. Eventually I brought the camera out when patterns started to emerge, such as the cracked skin drained of life-giving chlorophyll that now looked almost human, replete with veins and pores.

A close-up of the dying skin of a saguaro that was burned in a fire on the Overton Trail in Cave Creek Regional Park in Cave Cree, Arizona. Taken on January 31, 2021. Original: _RAC3782.arw

I spent the most time with the three saguaros below, they reminded me of a father and mother and child, each damaged to varying degrees by the fire and the heat. From what I’ve read the damage of the fires is double, both in destroying so much native life and making way for faster growing invasives that provide more fuel for the fire when the next disaster strikes.

The saguaros, two old and one younger, show extensive damage from a fire on the Overton Trail in Cave Creek Regional Park in Cave Cree, Arizona. Taken on January 31, 2021. Original: _CAM9898.arw

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