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Visual Metaphor for the American Empire

We are sliding into cool weather.   Tomorrow I will move camp down closer to town.  Before leaving I wanted to remember what happened here on the first day. 

The Little Cute One and I took a walk along the road we were camped on.  The road was surprisingly smooth and on a near perfect isocline.  Hey wait a minute, what is going on here?  I looked down the slope and sure enough, there was a water diversion ditch paralleling the road.  That is the second such ditch I have encountered this summer.  They actually seem like a good idea, but I'll bet the Forest Service has not built any for years. 

There was a forest fire here a couple years ago.  I think I was in town when it happened.

Currently camping where I might have seen a forest fire three (?) years ago.

I actually like burned forests.  You can see the surrounding landscape without all those damn trees in the way.  (I am a fan of eastern trees with leaves, not western telephone poles with needles.)

Forest fires leave some strange "carcasses" around.

Notice how the bark and outer layers survived, but the inside or center was hollowed out.  How did that happen?

At any rate I think this is a pretty good visual metaphor for a Dying Empire or Civilization: rotting from within, surrounded by dead trees and a cloudy sky.


Ed said…
My neighbor here is a Forest Service Ranger that does arson investigations. He helped me with this explanation.

First, the tree in question was down an dead before the fire. As you pointed out the bark kept the outside from burning but the interior of the log did burn. The burning was stopped from going all the way through by the cambium cell layer that is between the bark and the sap wood.

An interesting picture!
Yes, Ed, it makes sense that the living cells on the outside diameter of the tree are more fire resistant. In a way it seems surprising that bark is fire resistant.

It was hard to get the right camera angle. In real life, I stopped dead in my tracks and stared at these black tubes!