In a steady stream, the people came to see what had happened to the mighty oak. It had been a majestic presence that stood for centuries — before California statehood, before the Spanish missions and before European presence in lands stewarded by the ancestors of living Pomo Natives.
A week ago, the coast live oak stood tall at Spring Lake Village near the edge of Santa Rosa Creek, its full, graceful branches casting shade on the rain-lashed landscape where, for an estimated 276 years, it grew.
But Sunday, its roots apparently loosened in the saturated soil as the weight of extra water in its foliage reached a tipping point, and the massive tree crashed to the ground, breaking through a fence as limbs thick as trees themselves snapped into pieces.
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