Aspen and Evergreen

Miller Mesa, near Ouray, Colorado

This image tells not only the story within the frame, but a story outside of the frame as well. We can’t see it, but know there was very recently a canopy of bright aspen just out of view. We also feel that the image is suspended in time, knowing that such conditions can occur for only a few days each season and all but the gentlest breeze would dislodge the delicately caught leaves.

There is another story unfolding in the image as well, albeit much more slowly. In this mid-successional forest, conifers have taken hold under the protection of mature aspens, and will eventually overtop them. White fir is easily killed by fire, but the root structure of aspen survives deep below the heat making them a pioneer species, one of the first to regenerate and begin the cycle again.

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