Southern California was, by the reports of those who lived there at the turn of the century, beautiful; there were
live oaks on the hills, orchards across the valleys, and ornamental cypress, palms, and eucalyptus lining the roads. Even now
we can almost extrapolate an Eden from what has lasted—from the architecture of old eucalyptus trunks, for example, and from
the astringent perfume of the trees’ flowers as it blends with the sweetness of orange blossoms.
What citrus remain today, however, are mostly abandoned, scheduled for removal, and large eucalyptus have often been vandalized, like the hundreds
west of Fontana that have been struck head high with shotgun fire.
Whether those trees that stand are reassuring is a question for a lifetime. All that is clear is the perfection of what we were given,
the unworthiness of our response, and the certainty, in view of our current deprivation, that we are judged.