Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sometimes Thou may'st [drive] in Groves

Earlier this semester I was given an assignment to write a descriptive, argumentative essay about a tree that has had an impact on my life. I did not do well on the assignment, however it has caused me to pause, look up and consider the trees I encounter daily.

I am fortunate to live in a town with many mature trees. Part of what makes my morning drive to work so enjoyable is in fact the trees. I would like to share them with you.

This tree begins my day. It is part of the reason I love my house so much. The base of the tree is gnarled and looks old, during spring it is covered in moss. I image fairies or gnomes may live at the base of this tree. Among the top branches is the home to some very noisy birds. I cannot see them, but I definitely hear their song.  When the wind blows, as it so often does in Redlands, the clusters of pine needles fall onto our roof and into our yard.

Lining the fence of Kingsbury Elementary school is an unique cohabitation of Palm Trees and Pine Trees. Both fighting for bragging rights as the tallest of the tall. The children seem mere elves when standing in the shade they generously offer. I love these trees because they symbolize California so perfectly; two climates mingled perfectly together. 

When I was small, we had an eucalyptus tree  in our backyard. Carrie and I would pretend we were kangaroos or that koalas lived in the trees above our heads. I pass by these eucalyptus trees and reminisce about those childhood games. 

It is not this tree that is so noteworthy, but the structure encapsulated within it. I've promised myself, someday when I have children, I will (okay, Gerry will) build them a treehouse just like this one. 

The wind here can cause pretty bad damage to the trees despite their strength and age. This tree stands between the kennels for the large and medium dogs at Hulda Crooks Dog Park. Recently a branch broke off during a storm and deformed the fence. 

These are my favorite trees along my morning route. They are the only ones that lose their leaves with the change of the seasons. Since it is Spring right now, they have lovely green foliage filling them out and making the trees appear quite large. But as summer approaches the leaves will turn brown, and look like most southwestern shrubs. In winters they are completely devoid of leaves and become simply a trunk with spindly branches, allowing passersby to glimpse into the empty field behind. I would like to take a photo of these trees everyday to document their changing appearance, because it fascinates me. 

Of course my day is not complete with passing through the Redlands orange groves. Spring is the best time of year, since the orange trees are blossoming. I drive along Beaumont Ave with the windows down to enjoy the sweet scent of the blossoms. Monarch butterflies flock to this beautiful locale, there are thousands of them. During early May a drive through this area is what I image a garden in Heaven might be like. It should be easy to understand now, why I don't take the freeway to work and instead take time along the scenic route to look up and enjoy the landscape. 

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