This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trees - Everywhere and Nowhere. (pt. 1)

Some of our friends wonder if there are many trees here.
This photo is to dispel such rumors.  There are trees all over Lusaka.  The areas around the different Consulates and nicer neighborhoods are beautiful.

There are a great variety of trees.  The first ones we noticed were the "flame" trees or divi-divi trees with the red blossoms.  When the sun hits them just right the red is brilliant along the edges. 

Here is the blossom.

Some of the trees are very strange to me.  I don't know what fruit this is.

It is always nice to see a familiar avocado.

Kristi has her eye on these guavas waiting for them to ripen.

This is a poinsettia tree.  There is one on every nice street.

This was my first baobab tree so I took a photo.  It is rather young and unimpressive.  I want to see the old large ones that are so unique to Africa.

This is the bark close up.

Here is a papaya tree full of fruit.

It sort of looks like Dr. Seuss would draw it.

The birds can always find a ripe one.

This strange tree is a Masheshe tree.  I have seen them almost as big as our oaks.

The jacarandas will turn a beautiful purple, but we are not quite sure when. 

This banana tree is in the yard of the mission home.

These blossoms are at the ends of branches of large trees and we haven't gotten a name for them yet.
They are spectacular.  There is another tree just as big (some 50') that are almost bare with a red and white flower on the ends of the branches.

I have been told in many places that the name of this tree is the "Fiber" tree.  I am sure there is another name but I am told that rope is or was made from this tree.  They are very nice looking trees, and very common.

I worked with bonsai for a couple of years and I can tell you that the trees of Lusaka are very, very beautiful.  I think that might be because they are left alone and grow quite naturally.  They just naturally look the way their species should look.  Some are windswept and others are a classic upright and so forth.  Because the soil is not too nutrient, the nebari or root growth between the trunk and soil is large and helps make the trees look like they belong there.

This looks like a bottle palm that is common in Argentina.

Growing in some trees are a variety of vines.
This one is called the creeping slipper.

And of course lots and lots of bougainvillea.

This leafless wonder is plumeria or frangipani.  It also has a blossom at the ends of its branches.  If you have smelled the most common lei in Hawaii then you know how good they smell.

Who has the patience to string enough for a lei?

So rest assured there are lots of trees.  The trees in town are big and beautiful.  There are lots of tree lined streets with huge old trees that touch each other in the middle of the street.

However, some do lose their dignity in day to day life.  They are used for seats and signs, and places that tend to get ignored or just tolerated.

Did you notice the shoes for sale on the street crossing sign?  Sometimes there just aren't enough trees.

And sometimes when there is a nice tree, nobody really cares.

I drive by the tree below everyday and wonder about the indignity it suffers, by having wheelbarrows and bathtubs and all manner of hardware hung on it each morning.

"I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree?"