leena prasad

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nature and I

tamarind

tamarind??

A sparrow is pecking away at the dead leaves on the roof of the neighbor’s house. As if sensing my enjoyment of this breakfast scenery, a blue Robin tweets, from its perch on a large tree in our backyard. The green pods, hanging from the branches of this tree, resemble tamarind and the leaves appear to be similar to internet photos of tamarind leaves. Once the pods ripen, its identity can be confirmed. The orange and grapefruit trees self-identify by producing fruits. The grape-vine, jasmine, and bamboo bushes are also not a mystery,

In San Francisco, I lived on a tree-lined street, a block away from Dolores Park. On some mornings, I heard birds chirping. I walked to the park for more intimate connections with nature. Living amongst trees, however, feels like a completely different experience. There are trees and bushes visible from every window of the house. Their presence soothes me. I feel a connection to the flora and fauna when I sweep or rake the dead leaves. I feel my own mortality when I see the big tree in front our house with its deep roots and thick branches.  How long it has been here and how much longer will it continue to be?

??

??

oleander

oleander

Later, while sipping tea in the living-room, I wonder about the extremely tall and thin tree in our front lawn. I recognize the white oleander bush, near the mystery tree. The half-dozen or so rosebushes, all around the house, are easy to identify because they were flowering when we first moved into this Santa Rosa house in August. The giant tree near our front path might be gooseberry. I wish I had a better knowledge of flora and fauna so I can identify each and every tree and bush gracing our house.

gooseberry

gooseberry??

Now in my home-office, I am aware of the trees and bushes lined outside my window, providing shade from the mid-day sun and privacy from the other houses in our little cul-de-sac. Simply gazing at the greenery often releases any pressure or tension.

As I think of a wrap-up for this piece, a bird chirps on queue, reminding me of the chirps I heard from my apartment in San Francisco. Despite having spent much of my adult life in cities, I have strived to be near nature. It is a new world now to be surrounded by it.

[If you recognize any of the trees in the photos with a ?? under their name, please respond to this post and let me know what they are]

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