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Day 14 Photo-a-Day Challenge

It’s springtime in the Southern Hemisphere. We eagerly await the arrival of spring for a few reasons and they all have to do with Larissa. It’s her birth season, she prefers the temperatures and weather conditions, and most importantly, it means frangipanis blooming again.

She absolutely adores frangipani trees – always has. The first time she saw one was on the way to her day-care. There was a boat shop on the corner off the main road with a house within the yard and a tree right up against the fence. It caught her two-year-old eyes one day and she asked me what tree it was. I told her, and ever since then, whenever we passed that spot she would remind us that it was ‘her tree’.

I remember the first time she realized that there were no longer flowers or leaves on the tree. It had made her so sad. And then began the eager wait for the pretty flowers to return. Her delight in watching first the leaves return and then the flowers was priceless!

And so, year after year we watched the tree go through its cycles, until one fateful spring day last year. I was driving her to her dance class and she was chatting away in the back seat. It had been a slow recovery from winter, so the tree had taken longer than usual to bloom. I happened to be stopped at the traffic light a about a meter or two away from the tree. I looked up and noticed the first white blooms and excitedly said, ‘Look! The flowers are back!’ As I said this, I noticed a man under the tree sawing away at one of the limbs. Too late! She noticed it too. I watched her face go from joy to horror in an instant. She pleadingly looked at me and asked, ‘Why is he doing that?’ The short version was that there were new owners and I guess they had other plans for the property. The lights changed in that moment and we drove off. She had such a heavy heart the whole time and when we were on our way home about an hour later, the entire tree was gone. She was gutted. I ached as I watched her cry. It had been such a significant part of her childhood.

I was torn. How in the world had it worked out that they were lopping the tree at that very particular time? In some ways I was grateful that there was closure, in other ways I was gutted that she had to witness the brutality. Would it have been better that it would have mysteriously disappeared? Would she have been better off not knowing? We talked about it a few times. About how there’s a time and a season for everything. About how it was more important to hold on to the feelings of beauty and appreciation and excitement that she had been allowed to experience as a result of the tree being there. About the joy that had been hers and shared by her loved ones because of ‘her tree’.

I still can’t believe I never thought to take a photo of it. Ever. I wish I had. I guess, as with everything else, I always imagined it would be there forever.

When we moved to our new home about eight months ago, she was over the moon to find a frangipani tree in our very own front yard! It was the end of summer and her joy was short-lived, but we’ve recently noticed new shoots of leaves appearing. I took a photo of one of the shoots that hold the promise of a new flower. I’m so excited for the very first flower to bloom! So here is my ‘something new’ – a new hope, a new anticipation, a new reassurance, a new promise, a new memory.

day14 something new

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.