Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Botanical Gardens and The Charco
Ironically on Tuesday I was at the Botanical Gardens called El Charco del Ingenio for a garden club program, meeting and lunch. It was extremely interesting to see all the new development of structures. The new sensory garden area all planted with native species. The new children's area, again all plantings are native to the area only. Marcos, the naturalist who guided us and then gave a 30 minute talk on the current and future plans of the gardens as it reaches its 20 year anniversary were inspiring.
We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful environment being maintained and enlarged by extremely knowledgeable and educated people in environmental sciences.
The structure in the first photo is one made out of plant limbs and rebar. The feeling while inside is as though one is in a natural cathedral. Quite etheral feeling. Wondrous.
It was a pleasant two hours from 11 til 1. With the breezes, believe it or not, it was not uncomfortable. After lunch I headed home which is about 3 or 4 minutes away.
Imagine my shock as I parked the car and looked into the canyon, or "charco" to see smoke rising from the bluffs. The wind was blowing West to East and carrying the smoke and fire. The botanical gardens are above and to the right, by a relative good distance from the original smoke and fire. At one point as the smoke got thicker, I closed my windows facing that way and continued to go up on the roof to monitor the smoke. It was totally astonishing to see fires springing up spontaneously all over that side of the canyon and burn. I saw no firefighters ever or fire trucks although there is a gravel road on that side. But then, in all actuality, I've never seen firefighters or fire trucks at a fire in my ten years in San Miguel.
It was very eerie at 10 PM to look out and see what looked like campfires all over the slopes. Smoke still rising.
Needless to say we now have one side of the charco as blackened earth. Until today, I could still smell smoke. Luckily this evening we had a bit of rain. Hopefully that will help. It is reported that 50 hectares were lost in this fire.
Bob Haas, a director of the botanical gardens reports that there was no damage to structures or gardens in the botanical area. It was, he reports, confined to the north rim of the canyon. Thankfully.
It will come back. I saw Yosemite after thousands and thousands of acres burned about twenty years ago and five years later it was spectacular to see the area - all green and fresh and beautiful. As much as the birds carry seeds and deposit them on my roof terrace, it will be no time and it will all be flourishing again.
Well, at least, that is how I'm comforting myself as I looked at it all this evening in the dusk.