Flamboyant Tree

Slice of Life on TwoWritingTeachers.org 18 May 2021

Yesterday was my husband’s fourth day off from work in a row. It was Eid Al-Fitr over the long weekend, and now he is back at work.  Normally he works six days a week, so we don’t usually have such an extended time to revivify. It’s been a great week.

Yesterday’s pleasant and relaxed day included:

    • a long walk at the mall because it’s already too hot to walk outside
    • sitting and enjoying a cup of coffee (for him) and tea (for me)
    • shopping for a few needed items at the grocery store
    • time in the kitchen making applesauce and roasting broccoli, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and butternut squash (I love having Tupperwares full of healthy food in the fridge ready to dish up and warm throughout the week)
    • napping and reading
    • book study discussion with our kids (Holy Curiosity by Winn Collier)
    • Tweeting out a request for help to identify the tree below that I noticed at the mall
    • and finally going out to a neighborhood store to get a 5-gallon water refill

On the way up the elevator, after our walk to the store, my husband asked me if I was really happy not working fulltime this year. (After the first quarter this year, I began volunteering at my school.) Without hesitation I said, yes. It is the first year I’ve felt that I am living first and teaching second. For years in the past, I explained, I chose teaching over living. Teaching always held a disproportionate amount of my heart and time. That is a sad truth.

This is the tree I saw at the mall. It reminded me of the jacaranda tree, which I grew up with in California, except for these vibrant flowers.

I tried to figure out what this tree was, but I’m out of practice using a dichotomous key and I couldn’t identify it. I sent a tweet and Brenda kindly answered within five minutes, (reminding me of when I used to like Twitter.)

Today’s poem was inspired by this Flamboyant tree, also called Royal Poinciana tree (Delonix regia) and Flame of the Forest tree in India, as Prarthana later pointed out on Twitter. Our tree here in Bahrain is young or perhaps the climate is not quite right for all those gorgeous and showy blooms. I’ll be keeping my eye on it and see if it adds more color this summer.

Flamboyant Tanka

Flamboyance subdued
Young royalty in waiting
Trustingly hopes for
A brilliant crown of crimson
Meanwhile, playfully dances

10 thoughts on “Flamboyant Tree

  1. Oh! This is ‘gulmohar’ for us here in India. A tree found commonly as a street tree. I remember collecting the buds which would fall down thanks to the birds. We used to eat the petals or some part and they would taste tangy. Thank you for reminding me of those wonderful moments from my childhood!

    1. Oh, thank you. I’m glad you had a pleasant memory of this beautiful tree and your childhood. Now I know another name for this tree, which I don’t ever remember seeing before yesterday.

  2. Your line about choosing teaching over living really resonated. I feel that way too. I feel like now I’m choosing living but then it leaves me sometimes regretful or worried I am not doing enough as a teacher. Right now, I’m choosing walks with my children and puppy and being more present for them when I’m home. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying time with your husband and the pace sounds lovely.

    1. Kathleen, good for you for being present when you are home with your kids and puppy. I wish I had learned the lesson far sooner. Peace to you! As you know, the school work will literally never be finished, so don’t worry. Keep choosing life.

  3. It sounds like just the respite that you needed. I love the playful tree! It sounds like you are making the right choice for you:)

    1. Thank you, Erika, it was a great few days of peace and quiet and doing whatever we wanted. I’m so thankful I also didn’t have grading and lesson plans hanging over my head, as I used to, always and forever.

  4. Denise, what a wonderful post! You shared your day, a picture, some research, a video, and a really nice little tanka — thank you for all of it. It’s nice to have the opportunity to recharge with an extra day or three off. As Kathleen said, your line about teaching/life resonated with me as well. I’m going back into the classroom in August after a four-year stint in a coaching position. One of my goals is to live more than teach; we’ll see how that goes.

    1. Tim, all the best to you as you find the balance of teaching while living. I believe that is one of the finest silver linings of online school this past year. It helped us prioritize.

  5. Denise, when in the classroom and later in my administrative office, I felt compelled to give my all. It was a good choice for my students and district wide teachers but sadly it consumed my life. Yesterday was one of the first times in retirement that I felt the pull to finish my slice before midnight but tended to my life move tasks before finishing my slice. Striking a healthy balance is essential. Your poem is lovely especially the line about the crown.

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