Here is a bird’s-eye-view of a Valley Oak sitting smack dab in the middle of an Ojai road. The oak is protected, so the road must have expanded around it to handle more traffic.
Hmmm. That theme of city encroachment rings a bell.
Happy children grow up in The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.
Then they move on with their memories.
The city and traffic start to worry The Little House.
Imagine how sad The Little House is here. No one enjoying her hospitality. Then a family recognizes The Little House! A happy memory saves the house, and it gets moved out to the countryside.
Virginia Lee Burton gives the house emotions. It looks lonely, forgotten. In real life, it’s not hard to find trees hanging on by their roots as the city grows up around them. Do you think they feel worried, lonely?
I bet my 3-year-old granddaughter would say, “Yes!”
Lucky for this protected Valley Oak the city could save a branch by installing this short street light. Whew! Who knows what child, now grown up, might come back and remember swinging from that branch? It might brighten up that grown-up’s day, or maybe provide a needed insight.
If you aren’t sure about the importance of our memories of being in nature, read Pope Francis’ perspective in his encyclical, Laudato Si, below.
“…we all remember places, and revisiting those memories does us much good. For anyone who has grown up in the hills or used to sit by the spring to drink or played outdoors in the neighborhood square, going back to these places is a chance to recover something of his true self.” Laudato Si (paragraph 84)
Artist’s Note: For the sketches, I used Uniball pens. For the watercolors, I used Staedtler’s Watercolour Pencils. You draw with the colored pencils and then use a light water wash on the colors. It works well! I took the photographs in this post with my iPhone 5s.