Burned trees


By Elizabeth Spencer Spragins

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Richard Collins whipped out a business card and flashed his perfect teeth. “Our offer for your land still stands. We would have demolished the house, anyway.”

Ava MacGregor’s scarred boot stirred the ashes of her front porch. Her eyes followed the child scampering among the skeletons of heirloom fruit trees.

“Gramma, I found apples in the orchard! The rotten ones had yellow jackets on them, so I had to be careful.” Six-year-old Isla beamed as she hefted a tote bag from the scorched grass. “I’ll help you plant the seeds.”

Ava gestured with her chin. “There’s your answer, Mr. Collins.”



This is the third of 13 contributions to the Lookout: Writing + Art About Wildfires series, in partnership with the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word at Oregon State University. The series runs from mid-May through mid-July, 2022, the traditional height of wildfire season in the Western United States.


Elizabeth Spencer SpraginsElizabeth Spencer Spragins has written for more than 80 publications in 11 countries. She is the author of three original poetry collections: Waltzing with Water and With No Bridle for the Breeze (Shanti Arts Publishing) and The Language of Bones (Kelsay Books).

Header photo by Elena Sherengovskaya, courtesy Shutterstock.

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