My Palo Verde (11)

picture of palo verde with green umbrella

When they planted my palo verde before we moved into our new home, I prayed to know her name if she had one. Days later when I was weeding near her base I saw her name in my head. It was typed on thick white paper with pink and blue fibers woven through it. The lines were single-spaced, like part of a letter written on an old manual typewriter. Serena. Really? Serena? It wasn’t something I would have chosen. Then I heard it in my head, spoken with a Spanish accent, the long letter “A” sounds, the furred, rolled “R.” I liked it. She was in full bloom when they brought her, and she grew fast. The first fierce wind we had knocked her over, and I became hysterical. I’d never had my own tree planted in the ground before, only Christmas trees who lived in pots. Gus came and righted her, tied her up, but he said she was still too top-heavy. After, I bought a saw. I’ve been removing her limbs little by little, feeling like I’m cutting off my own arms, terror alive in me each time. The last time I had the wrong angle on the cut, had to go in again from the side, made a big gouge in her main trunk I haven’t forgiven myself for. I pray she’ll be okay, that her roots will grow deep and wide now, her remaining limbs thick and strong. I can see her tall and broad, our shelter from the summer afternoon, her branches filled with birds sitting quiet in the early evening. The first morning we lived here, a little yellow bird came to sit in her, tasting her tiny leaves (or maybe eating bugs I couldn’t see). “Ah,” I said. “You are nibbling on my companion.” It felt like a good omen, that visit. Yesterday I looked up and there were more than half a dozen goldfinch perched in her, their little calls and yellow bellies music on a winter day. My palo verde. My Serena. May you be blessed for long, luxurious decades. May you never lack for water, for company, for blue sky, for love.

2 thoughts on “My Palo Verde (11)

  1. Riba,
    I’ve been keeping up with your entries, but finally getting around to checking the “Like” boxes.
    Especially enjoyed these last two. What a great gift for you and Serena to have goldfinches
    visiting her branches. She’s a happy looking tree. The flowers at your gate do look so vivid.

  2. Oh, thank you, Marylou! Yes, the goldfinches and even some house finches have just begun sitting in the branches! They are small and light and sway about on the little tips of them. I am hoping when Serena grows big and strong (!!) she’ll be a spot for lots of different kinds of birds to perch. :)

    Thanks for your loyal reading and liking. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it!

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