It’s another gorgeous morning where I am. The air is filled with the
sounds of Nature and in the near distance I can also hear a chain saw
helping its owner take care of a tree damaged in yesterday’s strong
storm here in Atenas. One of our trees was destroyed also and its
absence in the landscape provides a different perspective for me and
for the parrots and hummingbirds that visited it regularly.
The once-vibrant African Tulip tree (spathodea campanulata) we lost
was given to me in 2002 by a friend who had to return to Mexico. It
was then a young tree, still in its bag, ready for planting. My friend
was sad to leave it behind but she knew that our property would be just
the place for it to grow into the huge and beautiful tree it was meant to
be. I enjoyed watching it bloom several times a year and loved seeing
the circular bright orange rug the flowers made when they dropped off.
Last year I noticed that this tree had lost its leaves and thought it was
the dry season’s effect but another tree of the same species on our land
was robust and its canopy was leafy. Closer inspection allowed me to
see the trail made by the thousands of leaf-cutter ants that were feasting
on our tree. Although we quickly looked for ways to control the ants’
access to the tree, it never regained its original splendor and I often
thought it was damaged internally and we should remove it. Nature
took care of that situation yesterday; we will deal with it tomorrow!
Each morning last week, I was amazed to see that despite its scant
flowers and leaves, our tree was still attracting dozens of parrots, tiny
hummingbirds and colorful butterflies. I was eager to capture them
“on film” but forgot to bring my camera every morning. On Friday,
I remembered my camera and took several pictures from different
angles. Of particular interest to me was one of the tiniest hummingbirds
I have ever seen. I am grateful today that I was able to enjoy the tree
for more than a decade and that no one was outside yesterday when
the storm hit.
Today is Atenas’ 148th birthday! Lots of celebrations are going on in the
park but get there early before the rains start. Have a wonderful day
and a safe and terrific week, Marietta