The leafiness of trees

by | Jan 8, 2011 | Uncategorized | 5 comments

Do the trees, in full leaf, find their canopies burdensome? Is it a strain for their branches to hold up such large leafy heads?

The flame tree, that I’ve watched come into leaf so gradually, is now in full dress. The melia, whose sprouting branches I charted in spring, is bushy and full. So far, so good. But when I took a walk past the park, a woman danced towards me on the street with strange gestures, uttering an odd cry. Did I know her? No, but she’d just got a fright.

As she walked past the park, she heard a crash. Turning her head she saw that a branch had just fallen from a large leafy lime tree. ‘Look, there it is’, she said. I was amazed to see the size of the branch, the large tear in it, and the tree. We speculated on what had brought the branch down, and could find no answer. It’s not as if the day was windy; in fact the air was still and humid. There hadn’t even been a recent storm. And the branch looked perfectly healthy.

As I walked away I began to muse on the consequences of being in full leaf: parents with many children who are all reaching maturity; wealth that becomes a burden; bloated economies, global warming . . . Not that the tree fell into these categories. Maybe it was simply too successful in putting out its head of leaves, or maybe the branch stretched out too far from the main trunk – out on a limb, so to speak. My mother’s voice in my head had the final word: ‘You can have too much of a good thing.’


  1. lifeonthecutoff

    Oh, Juliet, so much to ponder here. Sometimes, things just happen, don’t they? How frightening a thing to happen to the woman who had just passed underneath the majestic tree.

    Your mother may have been right.

  2. juliet

    Yes, it was frightening, and if I’d been a few seconds earlier it would have been me.

  3. Joan

    I guess sometimes when we could be at our very happiest and best, life can just be too much, and we cave in. Great post Juliet and I’m glad you’re all safe.
    There was a time when I thought trees lived forever. I was so shocked when a huge oak in my early life fell over from old age. It was a life lesson.

  4. Marilyn

    This is a great post Juliet, sometimes the ‘why’ of the happenings in life always elude us. I like your ponderings of the weight of a full head of leaves. Sometimes a tree with a full and glorious canopy of leaves reminds me of the fashion of back-combing hair …they looked rather burdensome at times too …or were they a pleasure to wear? So many ponderings.
    My post is of a tree …but with a difference.

  5. juliet

    Thank you Marilyn and Joan for joining me in my musings. Joan, your comment makes me think of the famous quote from Marianne Williamson about our greatest fear is being successful. Wow! a whole oak falling; that’s something you would never forget. And I enjoy the whimsy of the back-combed hair Marilyn.


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