February 16, 2011 by: Ben Heimsath

Memorial Tree in El Segundo Dog Park

Arline S. Hall Memorial Tree, El Segundo Dog Park

 

A Christmas visit to California, and a trip to a park for off-leash dogs.  It's at the edge of a neighborhood street on a small bluff.  Along the edge, through the trees, are sweeping views of the LA airport.  We spent several minutes watching the planes and the pets before I noticed a small monument under a stocky pine tree. 

Here's a different type of memorial.  Not a tragic site, but clearly a mark for a special place.  Not an accident, but still an expression of loss. 

At first I thought the plaque was in memory of a family pet.  I read the text and thought again.  Arline must be human - "the world's greatest wife and mother. . ."

 Memorial Tree with Plaque

Other unwritten information suggested this was a special place for Arline.  Maybe she ran her dogs here every day.  Maybe she lived close by.  Maybe she came to laugh and socialize with the dog owners.

 

And then I asked myself, why this tree?  The text says it is dedicated in Arline's memory.  But the plaque couldn't be as old as this mature pine.  These coastal trees don't get tall, but it is by far the biggest and broadest in the park.  Did Arline like to sit under the tree?  Did her dogs roam on this side of the park? Did she stand in the shade and watch the planes land?

 Plaque Text under Memorial Tree

Whatever the connection, it occurred to me that her family is marking the tree and sharing her memory.  Sharing with anyone who visits.  And they miss her.  Here, in this unassuming place, that's all we need to know.    

Suddenly Sacred/ Memorial