‘Mary Tree’ born of Buckweed Fire

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Inscriptions are written on the tree and up its white branches. Some people ask for help with their immigration papers, in court, and with their jobs. They ask that their families be cared for and protected. Others just tell the Blessed Mother that they love her. Many of the pleas are in Spanish and some are addressed to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s most beloved icon. Inside a drawn heart, a wife writes that she prays for her marriage. “Our love to be forever,” she wrote and dated it Oct. 20. AGUA DULCE – It’s known locally as “The Mary Tree.” People are seeing the outline of the Virgin Mary in the charred trunk of a California sycamore tree on the side of Sierra Highway north of Davenport Road. Plastic and dried flowers drape the bottom of the tree, creating a makeshift altar. A black Pilot pen clipped to a green ribbon tied around the tree lets visitors write down what is in their hearts. A woman asks that she and her husband be blessed with a baby. Another petitioner asks for good health for a friend and for a father to find a good job. That was just one day before the Buckweed Fire began in Agua Dulce and made its way to Canyon Country, swiping at this tree in its path. The tree burned in the Buckweed Fire, but it will be saved by county road crews. “It’s not damaged enough to be taken down,” said Kathy Salama, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. “They will trim the branches, but we will keep it.” Two trees in the area were removed because they were destroyed by the fire, Salama said. But this tree survived and is scheduled to have its upper branches trimmed in a couple of weeks. People have been placing flowers at the tree for two years, said Juan Alonso, owner of Le Chene, a French restaurant at 12625 Sierra Highway, north of the tree. He said he has seen more flowers since the Buckweed Fire roared through the area. “If you have faith and you want to see it, you can see it,” Alonso said. “It gives people hope.” Before the fire, he said, the outline of a leaning Virgin Mary was easier to make out. “I hope it becomes like Lourdes or Fatima,” said Alonso, referring to European sites famous for their Virgin Mary sightings and pilgrimages. Julio Rodriguez, who lives near the restaurant, passes the tree on his way to work at a Canyon Country carwash. He said he has never stopped at the tree, but he does see people – mostly Latinos – stopping to leave flowers. Like Alonso, he said he has seen more people leaving flowers since the fire. Said Rodriguez in Spanish: “It’s a matter of faith.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more