Most days now when I walk in the park near my home here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I make a point of saying my thank-you prayers. I thank my God, the Great Spirit — not to be confused with that big old white guy in the sky pointing his forefinger, so indelibly depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel five hundred years ago — for my many blessings.
Among those blessings: legs that still walk, eyes that still see, the color of the sky – almost always my favorite shade of blue, the flame-hued bougainvillea dripping from stone walls, the tall and skinny cypress trees standing like sentries, the fan-dancing palm trees lining Parque Juarez’s paved walkways, and — now that it’s Spring again — the purple-flowered jacaranda trees towering overhead.
Could any tree possibly be more beautiful than a jacaranda in bloom?
Could anyone be luckier than to live in a place where jacarandas bloom in Spring?
So with every step I count more blessings: this charming old park, those exuberant teens playing basketball on the center court, these toddlers on wobbly legs chasing elusive birds past young couples nuzzling on wrought iron benches, this row of vendors in mini shacks selling cool drinks and snacks, that danceable Mexican music from somebody’s boom-box, the fresh lushness of the vegetation on this warm afternoon, but, above all, these majestic, enveloping trees.
Exactly three years ago, during my first Spring in San Miguel de Allende, I wrote my first WOW post about the jacarandas here, titled “Jacaranda Time” (published April 2, 2016). Since then more than six hundred and thirty viewers from all over the world have read it. I’ll quote a bit from it here:
“In April and May, springtime in the northern hemisphere, the beautiful colonial city of San Miguel de Allende is dotted with an added color on its already color-filled palette – purple jacaranda (pronounced “HACK-ah-ronda” here) trees in bloom. Now, on my daily walks and explorations, I take pictures of these glorious trees wherever I go.
“Returning home from a recent walk, I did some research and learned that jacaranda trees, native to South America, have been planted widely in Asia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, and other tropical and subtropical regions. Obviously, being tropical trees, they don’t like cold weather. (I can relate.) ‘Small jacaranda trees can grow in shade, but more mature trees need more sun,’ I read. And here’s the most relevant and inspiring takeaway for me: ‘Only older jacaranda trees will bloom.’”
Last January 1st, when I fell backward from a high ledge onto my tiled bathroom floor (see “After the Fall,” posted January 6th, for the whole story), I could well have broken my back or my neck or my skull. I could have been rendered permanently disabled. Immobile.
Instead, I’ve been rendered indelibly grateful for my blessings. I’m not yet ready to dance, but I can walk. I can see. I can observe and admire this beautiful world around me. I can take inspiration from the towering jacaranda trees dressed for this most hopeful of seasons in delicate shades of lavender: I can learn from their juxtaposition of strength and fragility. And I know the Great Spirit hears my thank-you prayers.