An Extraordinary Tree Story.

Journal Entry from May 26,2014
Written in Ushuaia, Argentina
Published on August 20,2014
About 8 years ago, at a flea market in Queens, I spotted a book in a big, disorganized pile. ‘Estancias Argentinas’ ( Argentine Farms) was the title, and I’m argentinean so I bought it. It is a large, beautiful, hardcover coffee table book. I skimmed through it, looked at the great imagery and eventually shelved it.

Photo of tree in the Estancias Argentina Book

A year later, while taking a painting course, I decided to go back to that particular book for inspiration. In the book, I found the photo above. It’s a tree called ” El Arbol Bandera” in spanish and translates to the Flag Tree. The tree looks like a ferocious wind blew it hard and now it grows sideways. That tree is located near an estancia (farm) called Haberton. It captivated me immediately and became the subject of my painting. I spent many days and nights painting that tree. I vowed one day, I would go see the tree with my very own eyes. Once I finished the painting, the book returned to the shelf and the painting went into the closet.

Painting of el arbol bandera ( the flag tree) by : Natali S. Bravo

About two years ago, my boyfriend moved in with me. One day, while unpacking some boxes I found a postcard from the “Estancia Haberton”. I jumped off my butt and onto my feet and ran into the other room where he was and questioned the postcard.  “Where and how did you get this ?”. He responded that when he went to Argentina to get on a sailboat and sail to Antarctica, he found himself with a few spare hours and decided to do one touristy thing. That one thing  was go to Estancia Haberton.
Excitedly, I pulled out the book and the painting and showed it to him. He said that unfortunately he had not seen the tree because he arrived by boat not car. Still, he had been closer than I had to my special tree.

Photograph of the tree taken by me.

When I began planning this trip, he suggested I come to see my tree. Upon arriving I asked about booking my tour to Haberton, I was informed that Haberton was closed for the season. They’re only open from October thru April and now it’s May. Unfortunately, I was not going to be able to go see the tree.  I was devastated but not deterred. I searched high and low for a way to get there. It is almost 2 hours away from where I am and I don’t have an international license so renting a car is out of the question.

El arbol bandera near Estancia Haberton

Last night, I urged Florencia (the girl at the front desk I befriended) to help me find a way to get there. I guess she saw the desperation on my face and began calling cab companies asking for their rate to do such a trip. Their fees were outrageous! She said “let me try one more” and BAM! It was 700 pesos less than all the rest. Today, I was able to finally see that special tree with my own eyes and through my lens.


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