Artifact Title: Ode to Fallen Trees

Medium: Audio/video

Creator: Alfonso Fuentes

Video Length: 25:55

Video Title: “Ode to the Fallen Trees by Alfonso Fuentes”

Upload Year: 2018

Platform: YouTube

Uploader: Coastal Conservatory

Screenshot in Image: 7:45

Image Credit: Daphne Moss

TERA Curator: Hillary Kaell

Ode to Fallen Trees

When composer Alfonso Fuentes Colón left his home the day after Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico in 2017, he was struck by the ecological devastation. He was particularly moved by the fallen trees and, In the weeks that followed, he wrote Oda a los árboles caídos.“In the middle of composing the piece, I began to cry,” Fuentes says, “I wrote because I felt sorry for the trees; I wrote to save myself from the sadness.” Writing of ecological change and loss in coastal Louisiana, sociologist David Burley has commented that people’s attachment to trees “takes on spiritual and nearly ineffable meaning” (Losing Ground 2010, 63). Trees are central to how people mourn sudden ecological changes, notably hurricanes, or slow-moving ones like erosion and salt-water intrusion. Yet the bodies of felled trees are also instrumental for rebuilding as they provide paper, timber, floorboards, and other materials–including those used by Fuentes in this performance. These trees are not mourned, or even noticed.