World Water Day: Remember the álamo!

March 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

El álamo (the cottonwood)

World Water Day is offering reflections and calls to awareness throughout the interwebs, and so I thought Creek Freak should join in:  Remember the Alamo!

Not the battle in Texas, but the cottonwood tree, stalwart denizen of riparian corridors throughout the West, including reaches of the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Santa Ana Rivers.  If you are in Downtown LA today, remember the álamo as you cross Alameda, whose meaning is “a corridor lined with álamos.”  Remember the álamo, as the message bearer of your river’s groundwater levels.  With the water’s decline goes the cottonwood -and how many more desert rivers (with or without cottonwoods) shall we destroy(1,2)?  Remember too, the álamo, as the bearer of shade, mediator of heat, whose stretching canopies touch and join to form bosques, offering the weary traveler relief.

In the bosque’s disarray, chaos rules

yet there is room for every living thing,

where things die, molt back to earth.

where things crack, give, break, show their fragile strengths

their beautiful humility,

there is no ego, no complaints, no expectations

just what are

the faces of our souls celebrating our brief passage

through life

-Jimmy Santiago Baca, Winter Poems Along the Rio Grande



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§ 3 Responses to World Water Day: Remember the álamo!

  • Mike Letteriello says:

    Thanks for the “Alameda” reference. I think I “know” Spanish pretty well,
    but there are some words that are “just names” till someone puts an “aha” focus on them.

  • nancysteele says:

    Growing up in Phoenix, there was a beautiful, huge (I was little) cottonwood at the end of the street my aunt and cousins lived on. I remember looking up into its branches at dusk and seeing the bats flying. Sadly that tree fell victim to the road as the developer completed building out the tract. Cottonwoods are my favorite desert tree and I don’t see them much anymore. Thanks for the evocation of memories.

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