Forever Palm Trees

The sky was grey, just like most days, as grey as a donkey’s belly. We only had summer for a couple of months back home, and even then it never really got sunny. Most of the year we lived under these perennial clouds that made it looked as if it was always about to rain, but it never did. We never got real sunny days, or even real rain, instead we moved through a sad, gentle drizzle and felt as if we were breathing water.

I was only six years old, and I remember well playing that day at my grandparents’ home. There was a big party and all of my family was there. I had been playing with my cousins, but I got tired so I went to sit by the couch to rest for a while. That was when I saw it, it looked like a miniature tree, but a tree I had never seen before. The unusual tree sat on a tole planter decorated with birds and flowers. The trunk of the tree was skinny, and above it a few fronds resemble disarranged hair.

An uncle of mine was walking by, and I asked him what kind of tree that was. “It’s a palm tree,” he said, as if stating the obvious. I was used to adults talking to me as if I was supposed to know everything, forgetting the world was new to them once too, so I only shook my head. A palm tree, I thought, wondering where could one find such a funny-looking-tree, and also wondering why I had never seen one before.

I didn’t know then the reason why I hadn’t seen one, was because of the melancholic weather on the place where I lived. I had never seen a palm tree, because they did not exist in my town. Still, I kept the word palm tree in my head, and every time I visited my grandparents I also visited my miniature palm tree.

It wasn’t until many years later, on a vacation with my parents when I was able to see a palm tree in person. It was majestic, and it had on me the impact I thought it would. The palm tree under the sun, a sun in its full force that looked like a yellow diamond shinning in the sky, was as inoffensive and innocent as my little miniature palm tree back at my grandparents’ home when I was a kid. A similar unassuming trunk, and fronds with character and charm that moved as if they were dancing with the wind.

Since then I have collected palm tree memories around the world, and each time I see a new one I recognize the same familiar feeling I experienced back when I was a kid and saw the little palm tree for the first time. I still believe palm trees do not age, and stay in our memories as the first time we saw them.

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