Tree: a novel born of a Southern California watershed

February 21, 2018 § 3 Comments


Part 2 of books practical, lyrical and celebratory. Today’s offering:

The Lyrical: Tree

Tree’s author, Melina Sempill Watts, dedicated years to enhancing the Malibu Creek and Santa Monica Mountains watersheds through her work as a watershed coordinator at the Resource Conservation District there. She worked with stakeholders to support projects, obtain funding, and educate the public about protecting the treasured mountain resources that so much public money has preserved.

With the debut of her novel, Tree, Sempill Watts shows us just how deeply she treasures those resources as well. While a single California Live Oak tree is the story’s protagonist, the world of the watershed unfolds and adapts, it burns, floods, thrives, and reluctantly submits to asphalt and lawn. It is not only the history of our landscape – including our rivers and streams – but also of our interactions with it, and the hopes and heartbreaks that we imprint onto it. And as our shorter human lives intertwine with Tree’s arching narrative, our aspirations, our births and deaths fall into the rhythm of nature. The story of Tree is a story that includes us. « Read the rest of this entry »

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:

Lakeside sycamore tree at Hollenbeck Park - August 2010

After Sunday’s CicLAvia group ride, I noticed the tree wasn’t there:

Lakeside sycamore stump at Hollenbeck Park - July 2011

(sorry I didn’t quite succeed in getting exactly the same angle on my before and after shots.)  « Read the rest of this entry »

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