“To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.” – Nelson Mandela
When I flew in to Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, I felt incredibly grateful. Not only had I just experienced the awesome glory of an early spring in Philadelphia but as I rolled down the windows on the car ride home, I saw the lush beauty and swathes of exuberant color that distinctly heralds spring time in this Mediterranean climate.
As I walked the streets, noting all of the annuals that had been planted since I had left, bougainvillea sprawling over terraces and fences, and roses and hibiscus flush with their nascent blooms, I couldn’t help but be grabbed by one outstanding element in the landscape which annually serves as both the conductor and star soloist of this spring symphony….the jacaranda trees.
For those of you who live in colder climates and haven’t experienced first hand, with all of your senses, a grove of jacarandas, they are a sight to behold.
A bit of information:
“Jacaranda is a species of 49 flowering plants, from shrubs to large trees, ranging in size from 20 to 30 m (66 to 98 ft) tall. They are native to tropical and sub-tropical areas like Central America, South America, Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Thousands have been planted in South America, Australia, Nepal, and Israel.
As a matter of fact, Pretoria, South Africa has such a huge number of Jacaranda trees planted in parks, gardens, and lining streets that is often called The Jacaranda City. When the city is in bloom with them, it looks like a purple-blue haze when viewed from nearby hills.” Source: Wikipedia
Forty-eight hours after returning to Israel, I was as shocked as everyone else when the news hit of Prince’s sudden death. Beyond his prodigious musical talent, there was something about his soul that moved me deeply.
When I took my dog out for a walk later that afternoon, I felt sad. With my head down, lost in my thoughts, we slowly worked our way down a side street towards the dog park. Without knowing why, my gaze shifted upwards. And in a split second I saw that I was surrounded by at least a dozen young Jacaranda trees: I unintentionally had entered a chapel filled with Jacarandas. I knew that the higher spirits were winking at me.
From that moment on, everywhere I walked in Tel Aviv, I saw Jacarandas…and I thought of Prince. Even the petals that had fallen to the ground were a reminder of his presence and legacy. Several days later, I continue to believe a thought that first came across my mind last week….that the common name for Jacaranda Tree should now be Prince Tree.
What do you think?
For those of you Prince fans, if you haven’t seen his guitar solo in a performance honoring George Harrison at the 2004 Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, click on here to watch it. It is quintessential Prince.