I have a jacaranda tree I can see from my bedroom window. For a month of spring, it shudders with color, painting the curb with purple petals with each gust of April breeze.
Jacarandas do not bloom lightly. Instead, weighted by their opulence, their branches hang ponderous over parks and plazas. Like pregnant women, they glow and groan under their burdens.
I try to watch the jacaranda every day, waiting with dread for petals to fall and reveal the monochrome branches of summer. Yet her blooms are deceptively resilient. Day after ever-warming day, the jacaranda thrusts her bright blossoms into the chafing sunlight, oblivious to her neighbors rapidly shedding their spring garb. Even as purple teardrops whirl around her trunk, she presses on with abandon until the arid afternoons of summer stifle her springtime spirit.
I’m not used to endless blooms. Seattle springtime is ephemeral, but nothing less than formidable. For two weeks, every shrub, tree, and grass is awash in color. Not great for my mother’s allergies, but a sight to behold.
Now in Mexico, I miss my rhododendrons. Our state flower bursts into spring in dozens of hues, blossoms obscuring even emerald leaves and branches. No end nor beginning to the lightly-speckled flowers that line driveways and courtyards.
Every so often, in a big park, one comes across a rhododendron in rebellion, bunches of flowers still obscuring branches deep into summer. The bees love these non-conformers. So do children, gently plucking fragrant cups for fairy hats or dainty flower crowns.
By comparison, the jacaranda flowers fly high out of reach. They belong to the skies.
Watching the branches creak gently in the wind I wonder. Could I tell my life story through the foliage out my window?
Once, a rhododendron. Briefly, a baobab.
Then, stately roses and tulips, who were swapped for the araucaria, replaced by hibiscus, then the towering ceiba.
Finally, my jacaranda, mauve majesty, purple princess, royal regent. She towers over her subjects in this sprawling city with violet benevolence, a queen above the teeming masses.