Even after 20 years in the Los Angeles area, I am still awestruck and amused by our ubiquitous palm trees. Those of us who live here are trying to deny the news that a fungal disease is messing with our beloved palms, even though many specimens in Los Angeles county are already being replaced with oaks and sycamores. Every time I see new palms being planted -- their silly little topknots wrapped tight with rope, looking like giant paintbrushes stuck end down in the dirt --I smile and think, yeah, now that's the way it's supposed to be. I may be deluding myself but the many palms here in South Pas certainly look robust and healthy.
It doesn't make sense that anything as pedestrian as a fungal infection could vanquish a symbol of triumph. The palm branch represented victory and regeneration in ancient times. Romans awarded palm branches to athletic champions and victorious gladiators. A measly fungal infection? It can't dare compete with the winning vigor of a proud palm tree. And certainly not here. Heck, the motto of University of Southern California is Palmam qui meruit ferat -- Latin for "Let him bear the palm who deserves it."
I can think of someone who deserves a palm branch right about now...
When my mom was a little girl growing up in the tropical Rio Grande Valley of Texas, she actually tried to climb a palm tree by shimmying up the trunk. She managed to get up fairly high before she fell smack dab on her back. (I come from a long line of crazy women.) But after she fell, she got right back up. (And probably tried to do it again.) In that gleeful, optimistic spirit... this picture is for you, Mom! Feel better very soon.