April 11, 2014
J is for…
Claim: Spring has arrived in the southland for real now.
Evidence: I saw my first stand of jacaranda trees in significant purple blossom.
Jacarandas hit their peak in May, but when they start blooming in April, or sometimes as early as March, depending on the whims of our spring weather, I feel my shoulder tension ease just a little, I grow happier, I am reassured.
You see, for me, jacarandas represent hope.
Just about when I am ready to die, or at least give up on a stressful school year filled with sleep deprivation, frustration, and collective low morale, the purple emerges, overnight, without warning. Suddenly it is just there.
That’s what happened today. I was walking in the bright sunshine, during my conference period, to the ladies room—the newest one, near the athletic fields—when a purple halo caught my eye, drew my attention. There, across the street and behind someone’s backyard a ways, was a small stand of jacarandas, tall enough to be well-seen over rooflines. And the trees in this stand were aflame with the purple brilliance of this tree variety, noticeable even in direct early afternoon sun.
I didn’t have enough time to leave campus, walk down the street, and try to take a photo—besides, the house roofs would have blocked my view anyway.
But my ultimate tree of hope is a single jacaranda that stands clear over on the other side of campus. My portable classroom used to sit beside it. Now I have to travel to visit it, which is one part bummer and one part a good thing, since it gets me out of the dark and dusty classroom and into the sun and air.
“My” tree is usually a late bloomer (fitting since it’s mine), but hope did not fail me today. There it was, beginning to put on its purple. Soon the tree will practically glow in the dark with all the purple, and bees will hover low and drunk on the heady sweet drippy nectar of these small flowers, and passing district vehicles will “pop” the mess of fallen flowers like bubble wrap. Soon entire streets and neighborhoods will vibrate with the purple energy, like incandescent flame wavering in the heat’s breath.
I don’t know about eternal, but I know that hope springs annual.