Paloverde Lessons

Two surprises arrived unwelcome this morning:
A letter from a friend asking for distance,
and the sight of two young paloverde trees
smashed and laid low by a drunk driver – 
white gashes ripped into green trunks,
broken branches scattered down the street.

Crushed, I sat on the floor and sobbed for what I'd lost.
I grieved the friendship and the fledgling trees,
raged at the thoughtlessness and violence of the driver,
constructed angry plans for retaliation
and cast them in concrete in my mind.

Later, I walked down the hill for a closer look.
The little paloverdes were alive and well,
their trunks not broken but only pushed over,
their young roots still able to shift in the loose soil.
Around them lay six metal support stakes, snapped in half.

I pulled on gloves and started to prune away the damage.
My neighbor grabbed his tools and came to help,
bringing his five-year-old son,
who brought his new blue shovel.
Together, we set the little trees aright. 

I'll confess we had a laugh or two imagining
the undercarriage of the driver's truck.
But after a while, my thoughts turned to
the resiliency of roots, and the faith it takes
to trust the life inside a dormant tree.

I smiled as we worked,
thinking of the promise of spring – 
when the paloverdes will have
new scars and new branches
and their flowers will feed the bees.


Photos courtesy of Ray Mathews, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center   

Photos courtesy of Ray Mathews, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center