A Journey Through the City’s Treasured Trees


Originally posted here in the OC Register By DOLORES R. TAFOYA / GUEST COLUMNIST

Spring arrives and I can clearly see “the forest for the streets.” Not far from where I live, Eisenhower Park’s palms, ficus and pepper trees wave to drivers on Lincoln Avenue. And as I leave my neighborhood and head south toward the city plaza, I pass towering pines on the street’s south side and turn left toward town on Glassell Street.

The business complexes on both sides of Glassell harbor some budding trees as well as ficus and pines at this point. After crossing the intersection at Taft Street, I continue on Glassell and come across the evergreens. It is not the only street adorned by the domed-top, clean-looking trees in the city; Katella Avenue, west of Tustin Street, has them along both sides, as well as Chapman Avenue. I have often admired them when heading toward the center of town from Tustin Street, where they flank the street.

And it is on this journey from North Glassell that I finally recall where I have seen this familiar canvas. I have heard people call them “lollipops.” Their rounded tops, however, remind me of Georges-Pierre Seurat’s pointillism masterpiece, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” I can almost see the umbrella tops, men’s caps and even the bustle on the women’s dresses. What an adventure this ride is becoming!

I cross Katella Avenue and as I continue on, I see a line of dark, smokestack-looking palms reach out to the sky and burst with feathering palm leaves at the top. The palms are so tall, it’s easier to appreciate them from a distance. A variety of sycamores, liquid ambers, palms and pines follow, infusing the scenery with the homey, welcoming, picturesque quality of this city.

Closer to the end of my drive are the majestic heights of the “queen palms” in front of the law building at the Chapman academia. So prestigious looking are they. They appear to represent the attainable knowledge and pride offered in their environment.

After passing the university, I see the green island – Plaza Park. As I encircle it, heading east on Chapman toward the library, my destination, I take in the collection of trees therein. There stands a magnolia, Italian cypress, ficus, pine and other trees. Among them also is the once-ubiquitous orange tree, our city namesake.

My family has lived in two neighborhoods in Orange, one by a large orchard, which is now a recreational park, and the other with the adorning jacarandas on our street’s green belts. After more than 40 years, it is with pride and admiration that I take in the city’s lovely trees amid brick and stucco structures, black asphalt and concrete pavements. Trees are to be treasured, indeed.

– Dolores R. Tafoya has lived in Orange for 44 years; she and her husband have three children and four grandchildren. Tafoya worked for the school district for 22 years and retired as library media technician in 2006. She now volunteers at the Orange Public Library.

Social tagging:

Leave a Reply