Tuesday, November 13, 2007

From the News to NASA, These Stories Can Cover Some Ground

As I mentioned in my last post, what continues to fascinate me about many of these visual manifestations and the stories borne out of the objects is how they resonate and extend through the news and culture at large. Take this charred California sycamore tree for example. For about two years, the faithful and curious alike have stopped to pay homage to what locals call “The Mary Tree.” According to this Daily News Los Angeles report, however, interest in the tree has grown lately because it survived the Buckweed fire, one of several large forest fires that razed portions of Southern California a few weeks ago. The Buckweed fire has been in the news quite a bit because it burned over 38,000 acres, forced the evacuation of 15,000 people and destroyed 21 homes; it is also the fire that a 10-year-old boy has admitted starting accidentally. Prosecutors and various state officials are mulling over whether or not to file criminal charges against the child, who by all accounts is a nice kid who made a BIG mistake, though his confession apparently makes it clear that arson was not on his agenda.

And from smoking swaths of such destruction, large enough to be seen from NASA satellites, emerges this singed shell of a tree on the side of the Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce. A pen dangles from a ribbon tied to the tree that people use to leave their prayers and wishes. Among the expected notes about health, healing, love and life, one can also find pleas for help with immigration issues. Talk about a topic right out of the national headlines!

So, in one blog post we have evoked iconography, ecology, immigration, belief and NASA -- and that's what Madonna of the Toast is all about!

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