For many of Oracle’s residents our Oaks are like cherished friends. They do so much for us in good times and bad, offering beauty and comfort year round, shade in the summer months and fuel in the winter. They also represent OTown with a friendly visual aspect appealing to the outside world in artist's renderings and community promotions alike.
We don’t offer much in return. Occasionally contributing to their health by directing and retaining rainwater and judicious pruning but, those virtuous efforts not withstanding, the pattern of drought induced dieback is pretty clear. We humans have to take some responsibility for that, or so 97% of climate scientists assert. Of course, diehards in OTown may deny human caused climate change as a major culprit but this is becoming more and more difficult as dead and down carcasses of emory and white oak increasingly dot our landscape and scientific consensus debunks the deniers.
For sure our oaks sometimes pose a threat to the health and safety of Oracle’s residents and neighborhoods - from fire, collapse on homes and other structures and danger to property owners attempting inexpert sawyering by way of remediation.
We just lost the last remaining trunk - one of six from the same root system - that once graced our property right out our front door. This led me to fire up one of my chain saws and start (carefully) clearing the path to our house.
If oaks could talk - and some folks think they can - they could tell the story of our town. And maybe they could offer insight into our shared future if we stubbornly continue down the road of business as usual we’re on right now. They might even render judgments on the humans who claim to “own” them.
Michael Moore is the graphic artist who produced this promotional piece for our Oracle Authors Meetup. He's also the author of three books one of which features his remarkable charcoal drawings. An all around creative, Mike has also built his own unique home in Oracle and contributed greatly to community betterment efforts. He joins eight other authors inviting you to the Oracle Center for the Arts (OrCA) Saturday, December 10, 3-5pm.
What started as a conversation between myself and Lead Pastor James Ruiz 10 or so days ago led to today's makeover of the triangle of property adjacent to the Oracle Post Office. A team from his church worked hard all morning to weed whack, prune and haul away the cuttings.
As pictured here the Living Word team really got after it. Their skills were applied to multiple tasks including the pruning of trees and shrubs which requires delicacy and even artistry. Pictured below is Fina Guisinger who rose to that challenge along with others she coached.
There's more to this story than meets the eye and what meets the eyes is quite strikingly beautiful. As owners of the land (really temporary stewards) today's work raised our sights in the direction of a parklike setting with trails suitable for wandering, reflection, bird watching and appreciation of the glory of Creation.
Otown has done a pretty good job of promoting the arts of all sorts. The two day event coming up this weekend is a prime example. Visitors and some locals will look at and sometimes buy the works of local creatives.
Rancho Linda Vista set the arts and crafts world in Oracle spinning several decades ago - think Charles Littler, Fox McGrew, Andy Rush, Pat Dolan and a host of others. And we have Sharon Holnbach/GLOW/Triangle L, OrCA/Oracle Piano Society and the Oracle Historical Society with its inspiring "historical" story telling. There's more but you get the point.
Writers are a different kettle of fish. A mostly solitary bunch who think, gaze out windows and tap away on a keyboard - mostly by themselves. That makes Oracle authors a curiosity. They are for sure a diverse cast of characters that includes the aforementioned Rush and Dolan, the inimitable Michael Moore, architectural wizard Jeff Zucker, yours truly and, we hope, a few others of note waiting on confirmation. So while you're touring Otown save another date: December 10, (probably) 3-5 PM at OrCA.
Everytime I enter the Oracle Community Center (OCC) I recall the adventure residents shared in getting it built. That old time feeling surged again at the gathering yesterday. It occurs to me now that revisiting, even briefly, the whole construction experience may help inform current projects including efforts to promote tourism.
Other stories are also important. One I try to narrate in a chapter in my book (Sometimes David Wins) references a community survey that was conducted door to door in the 1980's. (Kaz mentioned it at yesterday's meeting.) The survey was designed by a local team headed by Ann Woodin with the help of Jim Sell from the University of Arizona. I suspect resident views haven't changed much since then. Among the takeaways were attachment to "dark skies", minimal traffic, peace and quiet, "small town" scale and a slow to moderate rate of population growth. What these desirables have to do with "tourism" is an open question well worth considering.
Kaz and I moved to Oracle in 1979. The house we bought dated to the late 1940s. With little advance knowledge of the place, we set out to build a new life together, intending to settle in and raise a family.