I was on a walk in my neighborhood several weeks ago and I came to a stop to stare at an oak tree. I can’t really explain why; maybe it was because it at the top of a hill and I needed to catch my breath. Perhaps it’s because things often catch my eye and I pause to take a closer look. In this case it was the way the huge limbs swept up and over my head; a canopy to filter cloud and fog. I snapped a picture and kept walking. A week later my family enjoyed a Sunday morning at the Oakland Museum of California and I spent some time in front of the exhibit about the oak tree. A blog post was born. I have been asked how I come up with what to write about; well there you go. My busy mind got to work. Why is Oakland named after the oak tree? How did it become the symbol of our city? From our garbage cans to our T-shirts; its roots symbolize our civic pride. What started as a momentary stare at an old giant turned into a quest to learn more about Oakland’s beloved oak.
I have always loved the rain. I love the sound and smell of it; sometimes I even like the feel of it. I watch my kids stand completely unfazed by their drenched clothes and dripping hoods as they stretch their red, cold hands out to feel the droplets hit their palms. The winter season of 2016-2017 has brought endless downpours to Oakland and beyond. To say our ground is saturated is an understatement. Water has been endlessly streaming through our neighborhood days after the skies have cleared. The green blanket of weeds in our yard is nearing knee height; my husband often sighs at the work ahead. While temporary creeks seem to exist along every curb with a downward slope, I started to think about the vast watershed that cuts through our city. I crossed my fingers that a series of dry days might remove the slickness from the mud and I hit the trails of Joaquin Miller Park in search of the sound and smell that I love.