Paul Gavin, Original - Oil on linen 12" x 16" is available. Contact the artist. for information.
A New Life - With a Little Help from Friends
During El Nino's storms fifteen years the San Juan Creek peaked in a torrent. A deluge of water, earth, rocks and debris headed to the sea, including the entire huge burned hulk of a once tall and certainly beautiful sycamore tree.
Most such logs usually break down into smaller pieces of driftwood that move with the tide along the shore until it crumbles and disappears in the sand or falls to the bottom of the ocean. But for this tree it would be different - very different.
The pounding surf lifted this large wooden sculpture onto the beach upright and with its twin trunks visible at the storm's unusually high tide line, the root mass was buried in the sand as if it were still growing, still alive.
For a year it stood. Beautiful and unique, it was something more than just a dead tree. It was a living creature - one of a kind. It was captivating, inspiring many imagined narratives of its origins as the tide continuing to pile sand around it.
Then on September 12, 2001, along came a young man, his nephew, and a flag.
It's destiny now apparent, the Poche Beach flag was a stunning evocative sight and ever since that day this sentinel has meant so much to so many. It is a beloved friend standing day and night through the wind, rain and the cold.
For ten years it sustained natural wear and tear and sadly, the insult of human vandalism, all the while being maintained and repaired by a small and dedicated group of volunteers continually replacing the flags, keeping them flying.
Then in 2011 the ocean came calling. The surf began slowly reclaiming the meaningful and much loved tree. But the caretakers and friends could not bear that to happen, not yet. Still intact, her presence is still desired, still needed.
So later that year a large group of volunteers led by the San Clemente Lacrosse* Team attempted to move the monument to higher ground. To their surprise the massive buried root system proved a challenge requiring a mechanized assist, a subtle reminder of the ocean's power. The surf had no problem moving that tree.
But they succeeded, and the tree lives on and the flag still flies at least for a while longer, thanks to a (not so) little "help" from friends*.
The tradition continues.
"Evening Colors" refers of course to the painting's actual sunset coloring but also refers to the dally flag lowering ceremony done at all military installations and, along those lines, that this flag monument is slowly fading away or coming down over time.
*A lacrosse footnote. "Help" is lacrosse tradition. Always part of the game. "Here's your help"; "need a little help." In fact it was once "de rigueur" at old school lacrosse festivities where teams locked arms and sang whole heartedly — and beautifully of course — a lacrosse anthem: "With a Little Help from My Friends" from the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper album.