TALENT, Ore. — For the first time in 116 days, a significant amount of rain fell in southern Oregon. The same day, two Peace Trees were planted in Chuck Roberts Park just a few hundred yards from the destruction left by the Almeda Fire.
An event first postponed by the novel coronavirus now taking on new meaning in the wake of the devastation from 32 days ago. A connection not lost on the founder of the Peace Tree movement and survivor of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, Hideko Tamura Snider.
"It threw me back into a war zone," Hideko said when recalling the first time she drove through the aftermath of the Almeda Fire. "I couldn't help, but feeling the despairing, scary, terrifying time that I had [75 years ago]."
But she and her friend, Michael Oxendine, who also germinated the ginkgo tree seeds, see the ginkgo trees as a symbol of hope for a community suffering.
"It's a sign of peace," Oxendine, the chair of the Talent Urban Forestry Committee, said. "It's a sign of resilience, and a sign of life itself continues."
Both Oxendine and Hideko want the are of Chuck Roberts Park with the Japanese trees to serve as a place of reflection on both the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Almeda Fire.
"Time changes, but there is something that's constant in trees," Hideko said. "It relates to life, you know, that goes on."
The five trees planted today included two Peace Trees: one ginkgo and one persimmon. It will eventually be the home to 18 trees and a few more benches for people to enjoy and learn from.
"We're going to be stronger," Oxendine said. "And we can watch these trees grow as our community rebuilds."
"Human race is caring. It's meant to be," Hideko said. "God said out of the primordial dark let there be light and there was light and it was good. And we have that light in us all."
Also at today's event, the mayor of Talent, Darby Ayers-Flood, officially declared October 10th Arbor Day in Talent.