Villanueva de Valrojo, June 3, 2024. The heart of the Sierra de la Culebra continues to hurt almost a year later. His neighbors try to place hope in each blade of grass, at home a sign of new life that arises in the heart of what on this day a year ago became fuel for the flames.
Pain and fear continue to be present in the hearts of a large part of the residents, even with a more than understandable fear when talking about the most devastating fire in the history of Castilla y León and the worst nationwide in the last century. Hours and days of a true nightmare that left behind more than 67,000 affected hectares throughout 52 towns in the Aliste, La Carballeda, Tábara, Tierra de Alba and Benavente and Los Valles regions. The more than 80 million estimated in economic losses hurt and the more than 300 businesses that since then have continued in the fight to stay standing despite the difficulties, the farmers and beekeepers who had to travel tens of kilometers due to the lack of food, as well as the loss of thousands of lives from an environmental diversity that is just beginning to regrow.
A fear that also translated into loss of human life. Daniel Gullón, Victoriano Antón, Eugenio Ratón and Ángel Martín hurt in a memory that makes up the most tragic face of these fires in which, for more than a month and a half, hundreds of media and professionals were used in depth with the invaluable help of the neighbors from the area. Now, one year later, the image is that of hope, the desire for recovery reflected through society and, in particular, the new generations.
While thousands of logs remain already felled waiting to be collected as remains of burned wood for sale, one of them came back to life in Villanueva de Valrojo within the solidarity festival organized by ‘La Culebra no se calla’. Among an amalgamation of stalls, music and exhibitions, activities and workshops, an authentic monument to hope was erected, made up of some 40 children between the ages of two and 12 who deposited their wishes for the future between temperas and watercolors.
A work of art that was born in the mind of the painter Eva María Lobato, based in Rionegro del Puente and for which she had the help of her friend Silvia Iglesias, animation monitor and the Virginian of the organization “La Culebra no He shuts up”.
The tree of hope, one of the activities carried out during the solidarity festival of Villanueva de Valrojo
“With the Sierra Renace tree we wanted to capture the idea of community in which the little ones have been the main protagonists, they have left their mark by filling the tree with colored leaves, each one more creative, which represents the hope of the little ones. to see our environment full of life again because unfortunately they are the ones who will not be able to keep in their memory the splendor of the Sierra as we have known it”.
From the trunk traced on a large format blank canvas (146×114) donated by the painter, dozens of leaves, hearts and owls have “sprouted” giving a new life. Green has returned to the environment based on brushstrokes and strokes of paint, strokes that have drawn the howls of a wolf that once fled to return to the environment where it was born. Like many of these children, La Culebra defines them with and without fire, perhaps now more than ever.
Small creative hands that come to make the commitment that was lacking on many occasions, as well as the firmness in defending an environment that is beginning to recover life little by little. “It is the spitting image of what they hope to inherit and recover and our duty as a society to get it and leave it to them as an inheritance.”
Living the dream!