Great Oak (Wi’áashal)

I was able to arrange a tour for my class to see a glimpse of some of Pechanga, specifically the Great Oak tree or Wi’áashal in my American Indian language. Even better is that I was able to have my dad as our tour guide, and I heard nothing but good things from my classmates about him. Of course, when my dad and I get together we become a comedic act so the tour was not all serious. I always find joy in watching how other people react for the first time seeing the Great Oak tree in all her glory. The sheer amazement that crosses their faces always makes me proud that I am, in a way, helping to create that emotion within those people. It is a very humble feeling to realize that while the Great Oak may not always inspire that awe in me as it used to when I would first see her because I can visit her whenever I want, it always feels like the first time seeing her when I visit with new people that are experiencing the Great Oak for the first time. It reminds me that I am very blessed to have her in my life.

The Great Oak tree has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember and I always find pleasure in photographing her, but I always feel like I do not do her justice in my photos. This usually leads to discouragement for me in not wanting to photograph her, but when you have a homework assignment you have to find a will to do something and look at everything in a new way.  I have to really look underneath the surface of what people would normally capture and find something unique to me. I was able to start doing this with the Great Oak and though I do not have many photos I still managed to take some that I really love.

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