Vapor Trail
by Rush

Album: Vapor Trails (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • In Neil Peart's book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, he wrote that his brother Danny read the poem Funeral Blues (W. H. Auden) at his daughter Selenas funeral, the poem contains the lines "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood, For nothing now can ever come to any good." This inspired the lines in this song "All the stars fade from the night The oceans drain away." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington

Comments: 1

  • Mike from Mountlake Terrace, WashingtonNeil Peart: "Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire." - "I found those words on the wall of a bar in Montana, attributed to somebody named Reggie Leach. It seemed an unlikely place to find inspiration, but I carried it away with me, and thought of it more than once during the making of this latest Rush album". VT - Tour Book.

    Without fire, there would be no life - life follows the Vapor Trail.

    Several species of California cone-bearing trees, including the knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata) and bishop pine (Pinus muricata) grow in chaparral areas and have fire-adapted serotinous seed cones. These species are able to reseed themselves after fast-moving fires as their tight, woody cone scales slowly open and release seeds on the burned slopes. In fact, without fire the serotinous cones of the knobcone pine may remain closed for the life of the tree. The knobby cones are so firmly attached to the trunks of old trees, that they literally become enveloped by the expanding bark.

    Without fire, cones of the knobcone pine may remain closed for 80 to 100 years or more. In fact, Mr. Wolffia (the editor of WAYNE'S WORD) once made a gear shift knob out of a cone for his truck. After more than 30 years, the cone is still tightly closed--with its shiny varnish finish. Fire provides the ideal seedling requirements for these shade intolerant conifers, including full sunlight and ashy-mineral soil devoid of leaf litter and debris (known as "duff" in ecological circles). In addition, the fire kills off certain soil fungi that cause a fatal seedling disease known as "damping off."

    There are many other cone-bearing trees throughout North America and other continents with serotinous seed cones. For example, in the Rocky Mountains and the Eastern United States are jack pine (P. banksiana), lodgepole pine (P. contorta ssp. latifolia) and Table Mountain pine (P. pungens), three species with woody seed cones that open during a fire. California cypresses (Cupressus) also produce numerous clusters of serotinous cones. Although cypresses are generally killed in a fire, their woody cones reseed the charred hillsides with a new generation of seedlings; however, fires that are too frequent can be disastrous, particularly if the cypress have not had enough time to produce mature seed cones. Throughout California, ten remarkable cypress species (or subspecies depending on the botanist) occur in isolated groves, sometimes referred to as "arboreal islands." The groves often occur in rugged sites and on poor, rocky soils where chaparral shrubs cannot compete as well. Cypresses probably once formed extensive forests in California, but during the past 20 million years, have been gradually replaced by more vigorous chaparral growth. In fact, their isolation into widely separated groves of relatively small populations has undoubtedly led to some of the subtle "racial" differences in cones, bark and foliage characteristics between disjunct populations within the same species, a phenomenon known as genetic drift.

    Some plants use the heat to their advantage. Scrub oak and chamise, an evergreen shrub, resprout from roots or branches after fire has incinerated their outer limbs. If fire destroys their branches, many eucalypts will throw out new branches by sprouting from their trunks. After flames destroy their trunks, mallee, low-growing, shrubby eucalypts, send out vigorous shoots from special nutrient-storage organs found in their roots. Australian grass trees push out new leaves and even bloom -- and may only bloom -- after a scouring fire.

    These analogies are used in our life. When event burn us, we mustn't let it devour us or destroy us, we must emerge with new life.




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