Los Angeles Times
HIV took him. Climate change took his tree
In 1995, my domestic partner’s friends and I scattered his ashes in the Angeles National Forest under a magnificent pine. “David’s tree,” as I came to call it, had a large trunk with evidence of previous fires it had survived. When I would visit the tree, the wind in the millions of needles would sound like a voice from heaven speaking a language I could only try to comprehend.
It seemed like David’s tree would live forever, or at least longer than me, a mere human.
After a long absence, I returned, but David’s tree was no more. Its trunk lay in rotting segments. Was it fire, drought or infestation that toppled the giant and other trees around it? The specifics didn’t matter; after all, it was climate change.
Evidence of climate change abounds in the mountains near Los Angeles, but many more residents treasure the coast. It may take the Pacific Ocean rising in earnest to make some understand that we are not the only temporary things on this planet, and everything is more temporary than it seems.
John Kluge, North Hollywood
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