These are the Aspens of "Hart Prairie" just outside of Flagstaff Arizona at the base of the San Francisco Peaks ski area. Hart Prairie is a wetlands area. The harsh winters and droughts of the past have been a great threat to these lovely trees.
Years ago the sheep herders would carve messages in the bark of the trees for other traveling herders. In modern times the carvings of often from hikers and young lovers. My favorite carving I have come across is the one with the peace signs on the tree on the left of the painting. That carving was on a tree in Sheep Springs. I often put the initials of my family on my paintings. I have also offered to customize a painting with the initials of the buyer of the painting.
"Aspen in Arizona have been hit by a multitude of stressing agents over the last decade," said Forest Service Southwest Region Plant Pathologist Mary Lou Fairweather. "In addition to drought, there was a late-season frost event in 1999 and several years of defoliation by the western tent caterpillar. Aspen became so stressed that a canker causing fungus and a wood borer, normally considered opportunistic organisms that only infest weakened trees, were associated with mortality of entire stands of trees."
Aspens speak to me as my "Muse"
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