Madrona Mia-Death By Wicked Winds

by Karla Locatelli
(Scotts Valley, Ca.)

Madrone tree 1

Madrone tree 1

There is an area on our property at Whalebone we call, “John’s Garden.” It is sunny, mostly level and is surrounded by wilderness trees: Redwoods, Oaks and Madrones.

One Madrone tree especially stood out and captured my heart. It was tall and straight with lots of top branches. It had one outstanding protrusion that I took many photos of while it went through various stages of peeling; quite remarkable almost like a giant odd shaped donut stick on the side of this huge tree.

Also this tree had a strange configuration on the front half taller than me. Like a large roll of dough was stretched from the root on one side up, up then curved down, down to the base again making an oblong half circle. When that rolled dough began to peel it made unique flower shapes which contrasted with the rough bark in the center; like a long lei of Hawaiian flowers…fun for me to photograph.

This past winter the Santa Cruz Mountains had one of the worst windy storms in recent history. My husband John went up the next morning to check out the damages from the extremely high winds and heavy rains. Upon his return, he was very animated in describing the total mess of fallen branches and one huge suck-out which came very close to wiping out my favorite cluster of Madrones.

He then looked me in the eyes, Irish Eyes, and said, “You are going to be very unhappy. Your special Madrone in the garden area was the only tree to drop that I could see.”

He was right; I am still very unhappy about losing one of my gorgeous Madrona Mias. The beauty was rotten inside. Bugs were weakening it. Nature has its ways. I asked him to do nothing until I photographed my friend. I also wanted him to slice off my donut protrusion for safekeeping, a keepsake when I finished with my photo shoot.

This whole experience only reinforces how grateful I am that I learned how to use a digital camera and computer to document the existence and passing of a truly magnificent Madrone.

Irish Eyes Karla Smiling from Whalebone

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