Hands of time take wing
It seems that quite suddenly the calendar pages must jump forward; we have arrived at a new year. Way back in the day, when my grade school friends and I would contemplate the future, we’d make wagers on whether we’d all still be around in the next century. Back then, it seemed barely possible. In some ways, it still seems like that. 2014? You must be kidding.
But, as I promised in last week’s column, my sweetie and I greeted the new year by breathing in the bracing air at Drake’s Beach in Pt. Reyes. The sparkling sun on the breaking waves, whipping winds and blowing sand, a high tide and a shoreside walk revived us both.
I ended the afternoon with a brief stop at the Pt. Reyes Book Store, picking up a copy of Tom Killion’s Woodcut Prints 2014 calendar. As of this writing, it still rests, tightly packed in its shrink-wrap covering. Let January wait a bit (as Robert Frost begged of October). I’m still enjoying John Muir Law’s illustrated calendar of 2013. Little wonder I can’t quite keep up with the day.
But keep up I must. My two column items today are truly important news. The first story is the rest of a story that ran on the front page.
The second story is simply a feel-good New Year’s gift from a remarkable group of happy folks.
Not dead yet?
The majestic oak that towers over Jack London’s writing room has been saved from the axe. Tjiska Van Wyk, executive director of Jack London Park Partners announced the news just before Christmas, claiming, “What a gift!” Indeed it was.
But it took a long time to unwrap.
That gift first appeared on our doorstep last Aug. 16, when Sonoma resident Chris R. Monroe’s letter to the editor was published in the Sonoma Index-Tribune.
Three state arborists had concluded that the Jack London oak was diseased and had to be removed. In his letter, Chris responded, “As someone with some experience in trees and plants, I have to disagree. I have been up to the tree on several occasions since the state announced its intentions. In those visits, I have collected evidence that I believe refutes the arborists’ reports. I have sent this evidence to an acquaintance who happens to be the discoverer of sudden oak death, Professor Matteo Garbelotto of UC Berkeley.”
Chris ended his letter with the hope that “the state will reconsider its decision.”
Death row reprieve
Chris deserves acknowledgement for helping to alert people to the mistaken death sentence.
Last Oct. 6, a public celebration was held at the Jack London State Historic Park, as a sort of farewell to the tree. Many people spoke their final good-byes, including state officials, Miwok elders, and poets, famous and local. We applauded them all, and listened with sadness, settled in chairs where the prospective victim, that noble tree, provided a stately backdrop. Just after local Glen Ellen poet Jim Berkland read his lovely tribute, another speaker stepped to the podium.