In Homage to Palm Trees

By Mary Kay Seales

Grace and poise, ballet in nature, bringing to mind islands and seas, sun and sand. Fresh green, covered with sun diamonds in the rain. Swaying, carefree, like the girl from Ipanema, like a guileless beauty standing at the shoreline, eyes gazing outward, dreaming of travelers’ tales, seamen, mermaids.



I always feel a deep longing at their sight. A longing to travel from the cold gray Northwest light to sun-filled places of the yellow-green palms.  And I have. Indeed, I have.

Costa Rica, the Congo, Haiti, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bora Bora…



From the rippling bark of the trunk to the delicate yellow-green blades, the sensually-shaped fruit to the fallen debris on the sand, the palm tree is a work of art, of God, meant to draw us away from our work, to dream more, to worry less.



Perhaps, the short poem below by Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 says it best:

Palm Tree by Rabindranath Tagore

Palm-tree: single-legged giant,
topping other trees,
peering at the firmament –
It longs to pierce the black cloud-ceiling
and fly away, away,
if only it had wings.

The tree seems to express its wish
in the tossing of its head:
its fronds heave and swish –
It thinks, Maybe my leaves are feathers,
and nothing stops me now
from rising on their flutter.

All day the fronds of the windblown tree
soar and flap and shudder
as though it thinks it can fly,
As though it wanders in the skies,
travelling who knows where,
wheeling past the stars –

And then as soon as the wind dies down,
the fronds subside, subside:
the mind of the tree returns.
To earth, recalls that earth is its mother:
and then it likes once more
its earthly corner.



Good for Palm Tree Dreaming:

Mutiny on the Bounty by William Bligh

Mutiny on the Bounty (the movie)



Mary Kay Seales is a travel writer and photographer, and also teaches writing at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the owner of Closing the Circle: Copywriting that Connects, which specializes in marketing materials for the travel industry. Visit her website at



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