Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fallen

I know it's not Darfur. It's not Somalia or Iraq. It's not Katrina or Fukushima or the World Trade Center. I know our own Station Fire destroyed so much more. I know.

We're very lucky. I know for the most part that structures did not topple. It wasn't human lives ripped apart. We didn't have damage from bombs or bullets. It could have been so much worse. I know, I know.

But I also know that we dearly loved all those uprooted trees. We loved the way they shaded us. We loved the way they turned our hectic urban jungle into a beautiful urban forest. Like contemporary pagans, we don't just like the landscaping -- we love the company of trees. When one falls, we feel it like the loss of a spiritual cousin. When hundreds of trees are lost, it starts to feel like there is some kind of rift in the rightness of things.

While I'm grateful that most trees were spared, I've seen so many fallen ones in South Pas and Pasadena in the last few days, I feel shaken. Familiar landscapes are changed and I can't pretend that I won't miss what used to be. And one thing is for certain: the Christmas tree lots with all those chopped-down trees seem a bit ghoulish now.


12 comments:

hugO Nelson Chavez said...

... i went to see for myself yesterday (in Glendale, though not nearly as bad, the loss of smaller trees still surprised). Trees of Pasadena and South Pasadena: my heart ached. I've never seen anything like it. It did feel like walking through destruction we see arial views of--from the Midwest after a tornado. In old town's central park, my eyes watered watching a lone squirrel frantically jumped from an uprooted trunk to fallen branches (lost? looking for its mate, i wondered). Good to witness, however, people helping one another out with the cleanup.

Michelle said...

Thanks, Laurie. I'm still processing the change in my street. (But from a hotel now because I can't take any more power outage!) I hate the loss of so many trees even though I am thankful the situation didn't cause more harm.

Anonymous said...

Edison says most power to come back by Sunday for 99% of LA Area customers yet Outage Center online still has no estimate of power fix for most outages in South Pas. wtf are we the 1%? I am freezing and cranky here.

Green Guy said...

Charging cell phone in my car as we speak. Thanks for this, Laurie. Sure we are glad it wasn't worse but still mourn trees. Something like 450 lost in Pasadena, not counting private owned. Riding bike around South Pas broke my treehugger heart.

Dixie Jane said...

I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico and went through a devastating hurricane. Living in Central Texas we worry aabout tornadoes. But your Santa Ana winds just about equal the damage. And the inconvenience of no electrical power now that winter has set in. That's bad. My thoughts are with you. May you and your family be safe and warm as you wait for a sign of normalcy.

Judy Williams said...

Several years ago, we lost some of our beloved oaks on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol building, due to a freak wind, similar to what you guys have experienced. I had to go see for myself, remembering the more than tame squirrels housed there that would literally eat pecans out of your hand. I was just crushed, so I certainly understand your feelings. Trees are more than roots, bark and leaves. They have a soul. They are steadfast, until Mother Nature decides to prove otherwise.

The Christmas tree idea rings even more true to me. As much as I love the smell of the real ones, I think my faux fir will be appreciated just a bit more this year.

Let's hope you are back and powered up soon. We have a small generator, but not enough to heat and power an entire house. My love and positive thoughts are wafting westward to you guys.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

It's been really hard to negotciate South Pasadena because of the mess the train crossings create. We've become very adept at circumventing all the problem spots. Have you heard from Karin? how's Shanna? can you e-mail me her phone number?

accesspalm@gmail.com

Mister Earl said...

My power was out from Wednesday midnight until 5:45 am on Saturday. Power out meant no heat, but sleeping in a hoodie with jeans on made it ok. Still had hot water for showers. Went to see the LA Phil last night. Interesting newly discovered piece by Shostikovich. His wife was even there! But odd to return to a cold, dark house!

Judy Williams said...

Mr E, I don't picture you lurking in the dark with your hoodie. I'm glad you had it to keep you warm. Knowing how many people are cold and without lights is just killing me.

Glad that the Philharmonic was a nice diversion.

Mister Earl said...

Really, as things go, being without power for a few days, is not too bad. It's not like we're in New England at it's 15 degrees! It was kind of like camping. ;-)

Bellis said...

Thank you for your beautiful tribute to the fallen trees. I love trees so much. The big ones are often very old; they existed before I was born. I like to imagine all the changes they've observed during their lifetime. Some would have seen dirt roads, horses and buggies. Later they saw the first cars, and the first trams. So many changes in the way women dressed. They kept their observations to themselves, while giving shade from the heat of the sun, and making their branches available for birds and squirrels. And then, after all that history, a windstorm killed them.

I've decided to try to keep our broken ash tree, the magnificent tall tree that shaded the deck and made us want to buy the house 10 years ago. Ash trees can be coppiced, so perhaps we can get new shoots from the trunk. At least we'd have some green-leaved branches to hide the neighboring house.

Anonymous said...

How did the Jacaranda Trees fair on Marengo Avenue? They were and continue to be a joy to see each year when the blooms come. Also the towering palms must have taken a beating down near Marengo School and the middle school. Enjoy your blog