I immigrated from India to the U.S. in 2016. Emeryville was the first city I lived in the US, and 7 years later, it has become my home.
I was told that the sunsets and the location would eventually get old, and I wouldn’t feel as amazed after some time. But here we are seven years later, and I have not grown tired of its beauty.
Another thing that was striking to me from day one and made me appreciate nature was the Monterey Cypress trees that line Marina park. But it wasn’t until the loss of several of them last March that I and many others realized how much we truly appreciated them. Their loss felt personal.
Every day, hundreds of people make their way to Emeryville Marina to spend part of their day. BBQing, flying kites, going for a walk or run, taking in a sunset…
And why wouldn’t they?
This vantage point gives us the view of the Port of Oakland, the SF skyline, the ever-gorgeous Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, the Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tamalpais. One could even spot the Mormon Temple in the Oakland hills on a clear day.
Following that epic “Bomb Cyclone” and its 80 MPH winds back on March 21, I went for my usual jog along the Marina path. I noticed the road closure signs for vehicles. At worst, I had thought that maybe “a” tree had fallen. I had read reports about the destruction caused by the storm in SF and other parts of California, but I never thought about the place I call home was so dramatically affected.
Almost a mile in, I began seeing downed trees everywhere and my heart nearly stopped. In the end, over two dozen of them had been uprooted by the storm.
I know some might think that “it’s just a few of trees” but the Marina is the place that has a lot of regulars like myself. It is like our backyard, a place to unwind and subliminally practice mindfulness.
I remember standing next to the fallen trees and talking to them – thanking them for the beautiful moments they had provided over the years. The comforting shade when it was too sunny, for providing perches to many birds, for people to put swings, and just for being there.
Visitors who had only glanced at those trees before or had a swing under the trees to enjoy the view of the bay now noticed a space that the fallen trees had left behind. I also observed so many birds finding food in the fallen trees.
Many of the trees facing the bay developed a slant to them from decades of forceful winds. Despite this, these trees had stood the course of time since the creation of the Emeryville Peninsula in the 1970s.
Maybe it was about time that they no longer can hold their stance, and a more prominent definitive being that the storm was too strong – whatever the reason, the trees that no longer are there, made a lot of people wonder in melancholy, about global warming and how devastating this storm was on nature itself.
I felt thankful for all the times I stopped to take pictures; now I have something to remember them by beyond my memories.
All photos: ©️Subha Joshi Photography