Monday, May 4, 2009

Everything has a cost: lessons from a jacaranda

Nothing comes free, does it? It's early May, and the jacarandas are in bloom in the really old neighborhoods of southern California's cities like San Diego and Los Angeles. These imported trees have an intense purple color that almost glows in the dark and provides a needed dash of beauty in the tired old city streets. One of my most vivid mental pictures is driving down LA's lower Broadway early on a spring evening a few years ago, south of downtown, where the dull industrial buildings and red brick seemed as though they were illuminated by the glow of the jacarandas.

Despite their beauty, the trees aren't planted in new developments. They are very messy, dropping petals and sticky goo all over the street. You need a maintenance team to fight back. In earlier days, people thought it was worth it, but not any more.

It's rather sad, I think. We're such a hurry-up society, unwilling to make the investment or pay the cost. We want it all just so, colored within the arbitrary lines that we set. And whether its children or colleagues or congregations, we are unwilling to make space for the messy yet wonderful variation that oozes outside the lines and gives our lives color and variety. But I am an advocate for breaking outside the lines. I'm going to celebrate the jacarandas.

Picture from here


Anonymous said...

I grew up in a street line with jacarandas. Each November, around exam time they would blossom, gloriously. So I came to associate purple trees and exams.
Years later i have got over that. I rejoice everytime I see the purple flowers come out, and later on tread a purple carpet.
John Sandeman/Obadiah Slope

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jacarandas are gorgeous and worth the messiness and trouble. Thanks for the picture, IT.

Dusty in the San Joaquin said...

Fresno County Superior Court issued its tentative ruling; Bishop Jerry Lamb is the Incumbent of the Corporation Sole.

FranIAm said...

Oh how I love the jacaranda trees. When I was looking for an apartment in Los Feliz in early May 1998 I felt so uplifted by their purple beauty on every street.

Messy? A big bother? What isn't that is worthwhile? It is all of life.

How sad to know that they are too much for the "new world."


Lovely post IT, lovely. Thank you!

dr.primrose said...

Dusty, very interesting news. The tentative that Dusty is talking about is available from the Fresno County Superior Court website and may be read here -- it's found at pages 48-56 of the PDF document.

Some interesting parts of what the court has tentatively found.

The court rejected Schofield's argument that TEC was not a hierarchical church and rejected the conclusions of "Rev. Wantland" (presumably the retired bishop of Eau Claire) to the contrary (pp. 49-50).

Concerning the ruling about who is the incumbent to the Corporation Sole, the court said this:

"The documents are clear. Only the 'Bishop' of the Diocese of San Joaquin has the right to the incumbency of the corporation originally entitled 'The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin, a Corporation Sole' and given the number C0066488 by the Secretary of State. Moreover, the Episcopal Church has spoken as to who holds the position of Bishop of the Diocese of San Joaquin – Reverend Lamb. Defendants challenge Lamb’s election as Bishop on procedural grounds such as notice and quorum, but this court has no power to rule on the validity of the Episcopal Church’s election of its Bishops." (p. 51)

The court further refused to interfere with Lamb's election as bishop -- if TEC recognizes him as bishop, a secular court must as well. (pp. 51-52)

The court also found that Lamb is the president of the diocesan Episcopal Foundation and the diocesan investment trust (p. 52)

In addition, the court found that the purported amendments to the diocesan articles of incorporation purportedly removing references to TEC were void (p. 52) The amendments by which it purportedly joined the Southern Cone were also void. (p. 54)

This tentative decision is important -- it pretty rejects in total the statement recently issued by some TEC bishops that TEC dioceses are autonomous and free to reject TEC's constitution and canons.

Padre Mickey said...

In Panamá, the jacarandas bloom towards the middle of Summer, in late-January, early February. We have bright yellow and pink along with the purple.

I don't know anyone in Panamá who considers them "messy."

David said...

Hey cool, Obadiah came to visit :)

:: waves ::

IT said...

You never know who my ruminative posts will pull in....

JCF said...

Well at least Obadiah wasn't cowed by it.


IT said...

(ba-da-dum). Hey JCF let us know how the interview went....

NancyP said...

Much prettier than sweet-gum trees. Those are the local annoying tree - the seeds are these miniature spiky land-mine spheres about an inch in diameter (ok, 2.5 cm). These are fun to throw around but don't rake up easily - you have to pick them up one by one off the lawn.

Brian R said...

A bit worrying that Obadiah and I have similar memories. By looking in wikipedia I was reminded of my alma mater. 'At Sydney University there exists an expression "by the time the jacaranda in the main quadrangle flowers, it's too late to start studying for exams". I had forgotten that saying over the many years since I left. When I moved to the Mountains behind Sydney, I unsuccessfully planted several jacarandas probably just too cool. The lack of success would have been a relief to my neighbour who at the moment is not enamoured of all my trees in glorious autumn foliage knowing she will soon have to sweep all the leaves.