Monday, November 17, 2008

I just returned from a relaxing trip to Florida. I did not have a rental car, I walked everyplace I wanted to go. I walked the beach every day, I walked along the roads to the shops, and I walked the neighborhoods to get the feel of the culture of the area. Florida has had a growth spurt in the past decade, like most areas, where the land has gotten so valuable the old style "Florida homes" with their pastel wood siding and tin roofs have been torn down and stucco "McMansions" built. That's fine, change is imminent. However, it was fun to walk along the sidewalk of the few of these old Florida style homes left to imagine their history, who had lived there in the past and what their lives must have been like. Perhaps they raised their children there and now their children's children come down to the old family home to visit and walk the few blocks to the beach. The old landscaping was overgrowing the entire lot, plants I am sure must have been indigenous to the area, instead of the artistic canvases of the new homes with the manicured, precisely planned gardens.
I walked by several Banyan trees. What an interesting tree! It belongs to the ficus family, with beautiful waxy leaves. The trunk however, has multiple, complex and intriguing threads that grow to be part of the trunk. I found while doing some research this is caused by bird eating the fruit and depositing the seeds. The seeds root and send up shoots. The shoots adhere to the main trunk and voila, a new stronger tree trunk. What a great tree in front of these old homes. It was the perfect example of life, of how we start out rather thin and frail with little knowledge or depth. Then as the years pass every new experience, every new lesson adds another shoot. We become wiser, stronger, more beautiful and more complex. Now every time I see a Banyan tree, I smile, life is like a Banyan tree, each one different, each one complex in it's own right and each one has a story based based on their individual experience.

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