• The keepers of the stream

    by Donald K. Sanders

    I’ve been having visions of the future for many years. Not the far, far future, but the near, say 10 years down the road right here in our little town of Winters, California. Right off the bat, I’d have to say that the future I’ve been seeing is not all that good. As a matter of fact, it’s terrible. Terrible, like people killing each other for food or a little drinking water or people living in their cars that can’t go anywhere because there is no gasoline to be had. Yeah, that kind of terrible.

    My life experiences have taught me to always expect the worst and if something better comes along, then that’s a good thing. If you expect the worst, almost anything that happens is a good thing because it’s better than the worst, right? Anyway, that’s the way it’s been for me most of my life, but lately I’ve been having different visions of how things will be in the future. Very different.
    All of a sudden, I’m thinking the future might not be that bad. So, I’m looking at things a little differently now. I’m seeing a whole new picture, and it’s a lot brighter than it was before — and it’s green instead of red. I’ve noticed changes in the things I do and say, and I think others saw it before I did. For example, about a year ago a friend of mine called me a, “tree hugging liberal piggy boy.”

    It was only after I had time to think about it that I came to the conclusion — he may be right. Now I think it’s exactly what I am and I know how I got that way. I think I’ve always been a “liberal piggy boy” but the “tree hugger” thing is something relatively new. It’s Libby Earthman and Sara Tremayne of the Putah Creek Council (PCC) that’s got me hugging all the trees. Geeze, I didn’t see that coming.

    These two women of the Earth, along with my wife and her family, are responsible for this tree hugger attitude. I know that now, and I know that it’s getting bigger, growing, growing ever bigger. Now I think the “tree hugger” part of me is taking over. I think my wife, Therese, and the ladies of the Putah Creek Council (PCC) have always been tree huggers because they come from tree hugging families. But I didn’t. It’s new to me.

    I know I had it under control and I was planting a tree here and there, when the PCC had a volunteer planting event. That was about the extent of it — plant a tree every couple of weeks and that was it. I found that I enjoyed these planting events and wanted to go to all of them. On a small scale, I wanted to help plant the trees, and then it got bigger and I wanted to help maintain and water the trees, and this was no easy chore.

    Things changed for me big time when the Putah Creek Stream Keeper, Rich Marovich, and the Winters City Manager, Jon Donlevy, started construction of their new Nature Park. I was like a little kid when I stood on the pedestrian bridge looking down at the workers. I thought, “I want to help, I want to help!” That was it! I was hooked! I was a purebred tree hugger, and there was nothing I could do about it.

    Now I can envision a nature park in our town that will be a showpiece for all future work of this type. Tree huggers all over the state are watching and learning from this project, and it’s right here in our town. I can’t wait until this summer when the park will spring to life with the laughter of our young people as they run down the nature trails through the trees that we’re planting and then jump into the crystal clear water of the creek with a yelp.

    So, if you too want to get infected with the tree hugger bug, all you have to do is contact the PCC at (530) 795-3006 or at putahcreekcouncil.org and tell them you want to help. It’s as simple as that. I know my credibility is not the best, but you can make a bet that if you help once, you’ll help twice. This Winters Nature Park is infectious. Take a walk in the park. You can do it right now. It’s worth every penny and for you, the visit is free. The entrance to the park is right behind the amphitheater by the railroad trestle bridge in downtown Winters. They built this park just for you.


      • Judy N

      • April 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm
      • Reply

      Right now I have the flu and am too weak to plant a head of lettuce, but thank you for the, very indirect, experience of planting those trees. Hug one for me.



    • You tree hugger you. I can’t wait for my day with Donald as he shows me all the trees in Winters. Exciting to see you so excited and your near future brighter as these trees grow and flourish like you, Donald.


      • Katie Jahr

      • April 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm
      • Reply

      And I think you are probably one of the best tree huggers I know. Sometimes it is hard to find the green. Love you, Katie



    • I am proud of you. I have been proud of you all along. Now, I’m happy for you AND proud!



    • Hi Don, I am planning to plant three cedars this spring. I’m going to name them all Don!! They are still too small to hug.


      • David

      • April 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm
      • Reply

      Donald, you are amazing. Honestly love your writing so much. SO happy you’re with iPinion.



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