One of my favorite times to walk in Golden Gate Park is at dusk. The great, old trees stand tall, silhouetted against the sky, each one uniquely contorted and top-heavy in a delicate balancing act compensating for limbs lopped off over the years by storms and gardeners. I imagine their roots digging into the sandy soil and gripping like toes in a mighty effort to stay erect. Tree pose.
Eucalyptus are particularly graceful, I think. Their foliage, delicate and feathery, drapes downward, catching the slightest breeze. Their bark peels off in shaggy ribbons, revealing smooth pink and blue streaks spiraling around massive trunks. Thank goodness for these hardy, adaptable immigrants who have rooted here, so far from Australia where the species originates. They are truly the backbone of the park’s urban forest.
Thank you for this tribute to the eucalyptus of San Francisco. In case you are not aware, the 20-year effort to save our eucalypts was finally lost in March 2017 when the Environmental Impact Report for the so-called Natural Areas Program was approved. The park department will begin implementation of that plan which will destroy 18,500 eucalyptus trees on 1,100 acres of “natural areas” (most in Sharp Park). Countless more eucalyptus trees less then 15 feet tall will also be removed, which the park department chooses not to define as “trees.” The final chapter of the story is told by San Francisco Forest Alliance: https://sfforest.org/2017/03/07/natural-areas-eir-approved/
The Forest Alliance made a valiant effort to save our trees. Cherish those that remain.
Beautifully done, and a lovely tribute to boot. I doubt the general public realizes just how much the “look” that they associate with many San Francisco Parks is due largely to the eucalyptus.