California's real Home Tree
Trees are beautiful, but they are not just objects of beauty. Their majesty runs deep, particularly with the old trees, a majesty both mystical and practical.
Great old trees came to mind when I met James Cameron, the director of Avatar, on Earth Day. I presented him with a Coast Live Oak seedling, aka quercus agrifolia, in thanks for his work in raising global environmental concern, and for making a tree the star of the largest box office movie in history.
Here's a photo of me on the way to the Earth Day event, bringing a young oak tree that was grown in TreePeople's nursery from an acorn harvested in the Santa Monica mountains, part of our restoration program.
After receiving the seedling, Cameron told me about his own relationship with Coast Live Oaks, in particular with a magnificent specimen he spotted once while driving up to Santa Barbara with his wife several years ago. He was so taken with the tree that he stopped to get out and take a picture and - his wife interjected with a laugh - didn't come back for an hour!
Cameron later gave the shots he took of that grand old California oak to his art designers, and it became the model for the Home Tree, whose fall is the great tragedy of Avatar.
[picture of Home Tree courtesy of 20th-Century Fox]