It took me a minute to realize that I was standing under a ficus. I’m beginning to develop an interest in some of the native plant life around the city after. I like to joke that all the trees in Los Angeles were invented by Dr Seuss ( clearly he captured a likeness in his artwork). After a recent encounter with the bleeding sap of a red gum tree I decided to start paying more attention to the details of the leaves in the hopes of learning how to recognize different local species.

Which is how I came to discover that I recognized the shiny pear shaped leaves.

Which is how I came to realize that I was standing under a ficus.

Now, to my mind, a ficus is a potted plant in the corner of my mother’s family room, permanently wired with a string of white twinkle lights for year round festive illumination. It summers on the back deck. All it asks is for a little bit of water and an occasional dusting.

This ficus had probably been growing since the town was naught but orange groves. Sure I had to duck my head a little bit to pass under the lowest hanging leaves, but for the most part it was so tall I couldn’t even reach the lowest branches. It was the proportion that threw me off: I never imagined that a ficus could grow so big. It’s a problem of perception that I’ve noticed myself falling into on other trees as well. Surely that can’t be a magnolia- it’s much too big! Surely that can’t be a date palm, it’s much too tall. Surely, surely, surely.

Well, I’ learning, but progress is slow. I’m making an effort to focus on greenery when it is around me because it is supposed to help the mind relax and synthesize ideas more readily. Walking inn natural environments it’s supposed to awaken “soft fascination” which takes the mind out of it’s normal, linear, driven state and let’s it make connections and think more fluidly. I certainly need the respite most of the time, but it’s difficult to get it when most of my interaction with nature is looking at the grass next to the sidewalk as I walk to the van.

I’ll have to make more of an effort.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 5, 2015.

One Response to “Ficus”

  1. […] Ficus […]

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