In Praise of Jacarandas

Tonyo Melendez Writes:

This time of the year in Southern California, the Jacarandas are in flower. Streets become purple tunnels formed by these beautiful beings that, silently, give us so much and ask nothing in return. I find them inspiring. They are beautiful all year round in their green uniforms as they watch us drive by under them on our way to everywhere. I wonder if they think we are silly, running around in circles from home to work, and work to home achieving little in our busy days. Then one day, magically, they decide to turn purple. Why do they do that?  The stately Jacarandas, bemused by our goings and comings, decide to help us by turning purple. Maybe then we will pay attention. Maybe then we will slow down and enjoy their beauty. Most of us continue to rush by without a backward glance, but a few of us take the time to appreciate their elegance, their silent confidence, and their wisdom. For they know the futility of our haste. They have seen it a thousand times and wonder if we will ever understand the joy and peace stillness brings. The Jacarandas know it and they go out of their way to call our attention to it. That’s why they change color. They want us to learn. If green will not do it, maybe purple will get us to slow down, enjoy the moment, and even reflect upon it. We don’t do enough of that. The Jacarandas, knowing this, turn purple every year for us in hope that maybe this time we will notice the beauty around us and be grateful for the gift trees give us every day. Once in a while, in a hot summer day, we go under them and enjoy their protective shade. As the breeze blows gently by, conspiring with the Jacaranda to get us to enjoy the gifts we ignore daily in favor of worry, haste, and waste. Slow down, the Jacarandas are saying in their quiet way, enjoy us trees, and flowers, and clouds, and skies, and colors. Sit on the grass, let go, and experience the bounty that is nature and be grateful that in its quiet security it continues to give of itself without expecting anything in return other than awareness of a world which gently gives us beauty, protection and love. This year you got to me Jac. You always have made me aware of you, but this year more than ever you reached me. You made me enjoy you more than ever before. Thank you Jac, or should I say Mr. Aranda? Whichever way you prefer, it’s a pleasure to share the world with you, Jac Aranda.

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