Dear Palm Tree

My posts over the coming weeks are going to delve into many of the variations of play that I can remember performing from childhood through to adult years. I want to try and create a context for play in my life that might also encourage you to think about yours. These reflections are in no particular order and they are shared with you in many different styles. Today’s offering is a letter…

Dear Palm Tree…

When I was around 19 I would watch you sway with the gentle sea breeze as I lay on Mum & Dad’s bed in the early evening trying to watch telly. It would be summer holidays and I was home from college. I’d have usually spent most of the day at my summer job making coffee and clearing away dirty dishes for busy Christmas shoppers.
Australia at Christmas time is hot and exhausting. My feet would hurt and repeat episodes of The Good Life
didn’t hold my attention for long. I remembered a friend telling me a story about their American roommate who had proposed to his partner on the beach of some tropical island. I was consumed with this story when I watched you at dusk. Your leaves brushed above the back fence and the rising moon would be perfectly positioned behind you for about half an hour each night. The bright Queensland moon would illuminate your relaxed leaves so that suddenly you could reach into the bedroom window and gently carry me away to a secluded island. I’d find myself on a private beach; a stairway to the moon reflected in the shallow water; tiny waves softly breaking on white sand; the faint taste of pineapple juice and vodka; the scent of coconut oil on warm skin; the sensation of cold, fine sand on bare legs at night. I never closed my eyes or glanced back at the TV, the magic wouldn’t work unless I stayed focused on you; the delicately lit palm tree framed by Mum’s bedroom window. And I felt sad. Like I’d never know these sensations for real, or perhaps I knew that reality is disappointing when ones imagination of it seems perfect.

The palm trees have been cut down in the backyard now. I returned home years later to find that you were gone and the rising moon had been blocked by neighbours who built a second story on their house. I sometimes miss you.

I did once catch a real moment of island-like peace when visiting the Daintree Rainforest, but I have stronger and more emotional memories of you and your island because you soothed me each day when my feet hurt and I had no money for holidays. 



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