When a tree falls in Hollenbeck Park
July 13, 2011 § 8 Comments
In my work with CicLAvia, I’ve been enjoying passing the time sometimes in Hollenbeck Park in Boyle Heights. It’s a great historic park in a great historic neighborhood, well-loved by the community… both community and park have been degraded by freeways… but both community and park are hanging in there doing all right.
I forget when I first became aware of it, but I was kinda fond of this tree, leaning over the lake at Hollenbeck:
After Sunday’s CicLAvia group ride, I noticed the tree wasn’t there:
(sorry I didn’t quite succeed in getting exactly the same angle on my before and after shots.)
It’s It was an old sycamore. The trunk was about 3-4 feet in diameter… something like 50+ years old, I’d guess. What I like liked is the quirkiness of the tree leaning over the lake. I’d be willing to bet that that leaning tree wasn’t planted according to specifications drawn up by a licensed landscape architect. I think it was a tree that grew where it wanted to… and humans ended up working around it… kind of like trees that one sees (very infrequently nowadays) that have ended up in the middle of the road because they were there before the road was there, and the folks putting down the road decided to respect the tree and work around it. (I think there are a couple of these mid-street trees in old hillside streets in Glendale or maybe La Cañada… maybe post in the comments if you can tell us where they are.)
I found it reassuring that sometimes the great old tree stays and we humans have to work around it. Here’s to wishing that we humans would have the humility to work around more trees, landscapes, creeks, etc.
I don’t know why that leaning sycamore was removed. It’s entirely possible that it was a good reason… or maybe not. I know it’s not any kind of pristine precious habitat, like Arcadia’s oak woodlands or anything huge… but I was sitting reading chilling after the bike ride, and I was disappointed to not see a quirky leaning sycamore tree that I’d come to appreciate.