Archive for the ‘Mountain pine beetle’ Tag

Succumbing to nature’s twist of fate


I took this photo up on our mountain property in the northwest part of Colorado where we have about four acres. We have a lot of trees and boulders and the scenery is beautiful, but in the last several years the pine beetle has destroyed much of the area’s trees in our mountains west of here, and elsewhere throughout the Colorado Rockies. The pine beetle eats through the bark into the interior of the tree until much of the tree has rotted so bad from the infestation it will crack and split open, fall over and roots dry up never to produce again. The beetles will move from tree to tree in close proximity and spread across an entire section. In large sections where the disease has spread the trees have to be cut down and the wood removed or burned to prevent it from spreading to healthy trees. Rocky Mountain Nat’l Park has a lot of dense tree sections where they have done this. Even the healthiest and most beautiful trees in the forests can become victims to this disease. More information on this can be found here.

We found this tree split and fallen over from the spread of the disease before it could be cut down with the chain saw used to thin out the trees when they get too thick, or die off. The pine beetles chewed right through it until it could no longer stand on its own. Looking at the wood closely we could see the tiny burrowing holes in it made by the pine beetle. There was nothing of the tree that remained but broken splintered chunks of wood, so was gathered up and added to our campfire burn slash pile.




The lot next to ours had a huge old tree that we determined could be over 100 yrs. old. The above photo is one taken of this tree after it became stricken with the disease stripping it of its bark and burrowing into its roots till it dried up and shriveled to what looked like mere skeletal remains . It saddened us to see such a beautiful old giant suffer such a death.


Joyce E. Johnson (2015)


COPING WITH REALITY – The wildfires in northern Colorado

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Coping with reality is often one of the most difficult things to do. One can only wish it was fiction, like the fiction I have written and shared on this blog site. But, life happens. Not all of it pretty. Not all of it sane. And in the aftermath of destruction, or chaos to see if there was any good that came from it maybe depends on one’s perspective. But, when we cannot see any, God can, and the future beyond it, if we believe there is a reason and purpose in His plan.

I will use the illustration of an event happening this week where  my husband and I, and our family live. Wildfire, the worst our county has ever seen has been raging through our region and mountains here in northern Colorado. We have waited through this entire week to see if the fires would spread further, hoping it would be contained. We remain hopeful that beauty will come forth from the ashes and embers burning our beloved Rockies. This is one of those difficult things to deal with, as I hope and pray for the rain to come and a rainbow to burst through the smoke-filled skies with a promise that God will bring new growth, lush  green trees, tall and erect, to our spacious beautiful mountains again. Colorado is my birthplace, a place I have always felt my true home although I have lived in other states and regions.

The devastating pine beetle infestation on the trees and their destruction is the only good thing I can think of that is the good to come from the fires. But, the destruction of homes and property where people have built their lives, raised families, or even just taken their families to picnic, camp out, climb a peak, or take a rafting trip down the Cache La Poudre River may be but only memories pushed back into history.

My husband and I own property in a part that sits in wait right now to see if it will be spared. We have had our lot in Glacier View Meadows for over twenty years now. Our grandchildren were just babies when we took them up there with us to enjoy the camp-out, campfires, smores, hikes, and family outings. The remains of five (dogs) of our family’s pets are even buried up on our lot. They all loved the wide open space, and roamed it, as did we all, enjoying Spring rains that preceded the blooming of beautiful wildflowers in the summer, strong winds that blew the smell of our fragrant Cedar trees, Douglass fir, and Ponderosa pines across the mountain’s landscape, and fresh, deep snows that promised a good supply of run off in our streams and rivers. It was ‘postcard’ picture perfect and we relished every picture of our secondary home and family refuge. Our collection of pictures and videos show it all the way it once was before the fire. But, the way we imagine it can look after the fire is one implanted in our minds and hearts we don’t want to keep, but have to cope with. It is reality.

So, we wait. And we keep praying: for the protection of the firefighters and rescue crews, for the wild life and animals, pets – large and small – to make it down and out of harms way, and for the homeowners’ homes to be spared. But, that is not the case as many have lost their homes in the fires. One life has been lost in the fire. We are thankful there has not been more. Homes can be rebuilt, new trees planted or regrown from seedlings popping up months later. But, there is no replacing a loved one lost, or a pet that lived a part of its life with one, now gone. 

Chaos, and catastrophic events ordained or allowed by God cannot be explained. One cannot know when to expect them, or even how to be prepared for them. But, we can be ready to go regardless our fate when we know the one who holds our destiny in His hands. It is ultimately in His control, and we must just deal with it, coping with it the best we can. I am thankful I know my Redeemer lives. It is what makes the coping with reality not easy, but more bearable. And it is with Him where I count it my real home, one day.





%d bloggers like this: