spring cleaning the trees

January 17, 2012

In Avenue Du Général De Gaulle in Perpignan, the Xmas lights that hung and filled the night sky with repititous excitement are removed from the trunks of the palm trees. It’s quite an operation . . . .

. . which involves numerous operatives and vehicles. With this manoevre, the opportunity is taken to clean the trunks of old matter – dead bark and foliage – and do some arboricultural tidying up to ensure the health of the palms  . . .

. . . in this case, the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), is managed and maintained quite superbly. I was in awe!

Palm-tree: single-legged giant,
topping other trees,
peering at the firmament –
It longs to pierce the black cloud-ceiling
and fly away, away,
if only it had wings.

The tree seems to express its wish
in the tossing of its head:
its fronds heave and swish –
It thinks, Maybe my leaves are feathers,
and nothing stops me now
from rising on their flutter.

All day the fronds the windblown tree
soar and flap and shudder
as though it thinks it can fly,
As though it wanders in the skies,
travelling who knows where,
wheeling past the stars –

And then as soon as the wind dies down,
the fronds subside, subside:
the mind of the tree returns.
To earth, recalls that earth is its mother:
and then it likes once more
its earthly corner. Rabindranath Tagore  Palm Tree

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