I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree. – Joyce Kilmer, February 2, 1913
I had to memorize that poem at some point in grade school, but I only remember two phrases: 1) I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree; and 2) Poems are made by fools like me but only God can make a tree.
The poem is equally praised for its lyrical tone and cursed as being too sentimental. What do you expect from a man named Joyce? All I can say is that sometimes when I look at God’s earthly creations, I wonder how anyone can doubt the existence of a Supreme Being.
Take, for example, the palo verde tree which, perhaps to your surprise, is AZ’s state tree rather than the saguaro cactus. Perhaps you’re not surprised at all; most likely you haven’t given it a single thought. But you should, because the most interesting thing about the palo verde tree (palo verde means green stick in Spanish) is that the leaves are teeny-tiny, but the trunk is solid green….
How does this tree photosynthesize given the small leaf size, you might ask? That’s why God made the trunk green.
I learned this, and other interesting facts about AZ plant life because Jen and I made a trek yesterday to the Desert Botanical Garden. We were given a tour by a Garden Docent extraordinaire named Rebecca Borman. My sister Bec has been a volunteer at the Botanical Garden for a number of years now. Her knowledge of botany and nature in general — and Arizona nature specifically — is commendable, particularly since she was an English teacher and not a scientist or a botanist in her earlier life…..
The famed saguaro cactus should, for all intents and purposes, be the state tree because the Sonoran desert — a large part of which is in AZ while the remaining part is in Mexico — is the only place in the world where saguaros grow. Most saguaros look much the same: tall and slender with a couple of arms that add to the plant’s beauty about every 50 to 75 years. Once in a while, God gives us a gift by, well, mutating the saguaro, giving it a king’s crown…..
It looks like something you would see in Disneyland, doesn’t it? Along with its fellow plant, the mountain laurel….
…..in bloom now, and making the area smell like grape soda. The mountain laurel blossoms aren’t out long, but longer than the magnificent flower that appears on this cactus…..
That flower will be lucky to stick around for more than a day or so.
I’ll leave you to bask in the glory of God by perusing these photos…..
Jen and I had a wonderful day, and learned a lot about our second home…..