Today I walked and climbed to the top of the “knob”, a hill behind our house. This bird (probably a red-tailed hawk) was one of five that were flying together.
These madrone trees were growing on a slope of about sixty degrees. (A large percentage of our ranch is sloped more than 45 degrees.) The madrones have a beautiful red outer bark that peels off by itself and leaves what looks like bare wood that changes colors depending on whether it has recently been rained on and in different light can assume many shades of browns, yellows and reds. I’ve never seen moss growing on the live wood. It’s also hard and dense and makes great, long-lasting firewood with little ash, after it is logged. But I much prefer it thoroughly alive like this, thrusting bare trunk into the sky like some athlete with one percent body fat. Lean and muscular, and not afraid to show off.
This is the same bunch of madrone trees from another angle. It shows the slope better, and tells more of a story. The bare spot on the hill is a patch where we logged about five years ago. Give it another five years for the little trees that have been planted to get bigger, and that hill will be solid green. There’s still some snow on the hill in the background. Capturing the turquoise band of sky was just a happy accident.