“You will notice the Jacarandas, you will appreciate them and remember them!”

Alas, I fear that this might be what I sound like sometimes! Does my enthusiasm for shared experiences come across as naggy? Yes, I’m sure it must.


Let’s consider the Jacaranda trees as an example. They are, as you can see, absolutely spectacular! We are at the height of Jacaranda season here in Pietermaritzburg. Many streets are lined with these graceful trees painting the canopy purple. In other spots you’ll encounter an enormous tree on its own mocking all the other colors around.



This is not my first time experiencing this wonderful season, it’s actually my fourth. I enjoyed three years of Jacarandas blossoming in Monduli, Tanzania, when I taught there in the 90s. And it was in that setting that my heart sweetened on my now husband. With no car and plenty of time, I remember long walks gazing up with blossoms underfoot.   We would appreciate the foresight of the Germans who planted those trees along the roads, never experiencing what a gift they would be to future generations.



As you can see my reaction to the Jacarandas here in South Africa might be a wee bit steeped in my own reminiscing! But really, how can anyone miss pointing out these trees every time they spot one?! You know who… my children! So what’s a mom to do? Step up the exclamations of delight, right? Which leads to the nag factor.

At least we have all had a sense of humor about it. When I expressed that there was not sufficient appreciation for this fleeting botanical moment they got the message.   Now there are plenty of syrupy exclamations to appease me, “OH MY, look at THAT tree…. Ooooo….aaaahhhh!” Even if it’s not heartfelt at least they’re noticing, right?


This all sounds funny of course but it’s an example of something I’ve been mulling over recently – that I cannot control what my children will take away from this experience. I know, I know… that should be obvious to me. And it is in a way. But plenty of people have commented, “Your children will remember this forever!” as if there were a universal memory we would share. I’m not sure that’s how it works. The Rhino Incident, the stolen car – ok, maybe permanent and certainly shared. But the amazing stars, the general politeness of everyone, the sweetness of the small bananas, the resilience of the people who have experienced so many difficulties, the sharp “caw-caw” of the Ibis birds before dawn…. the Jacarandas…sadly, maybe not!

So I am practicing owning my memories and allowing others to have theirs. I do feel confident that there will be lasting memories. Who knows, some of them may even be grounded in the values we were hoping might be imparted during this year. And quite wonderfully, there will be a whole collection of memories my children will have that I didn’t experience at all or carry forward with me. They will likely remember the baboon poop* on the back windshield long after I have forgotten that one. And I can only guess at the collection of images, sounds, stories, and ideas that fill their minds from their school days. I just hope that once this year is far behind us they will still be willing to share them with me. I’ll be happy to remind them about the Jacarandas!

What are the things you remember from childhood, trips, or big experiences? Do you think it’s what your parents would have wanted or thought you’d remember?

* In honor of my children’s experience, I’d better share the baboon poop with you, right?

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And may we have one last enthusiastic “ooo- and – aahh” from the blogging audience, please!?!?




12 thoughts on ““You will notice the Jacarandas, you will appreciate them and remember them!”

  1. Ooooo…ahhh….they are spectacular! And I can also enjoy the poop! You pose interesting questions and thoughts and it’s all great fun to read. My family went to California for sabbatical when I saw in 6th grade and I remember lots about my school which had outdoor corridors….shocking coming from NY! I also remember goofy things like we had a station wagon with a big storage compartment under the floor in the back. My mother decided to lay down a sheet and then all of our clothes for the yeAr instead of lots of suitcases. This was terrific until someone forget to close the drainage tube on the ice chest and all the melting ice water leaked down into the clothes. We had quite the clothesline display at the campground that night!

    So good to hear from you! I am helping out with RYS one day a week and really enjoying that.


  2. Hi family
    Having seen the Jacarandas while visiting Tanzania I can agree they are worth ohhhhhhh and ahhhhh!
    Absolutely beautiful! And that’s what we have been saying here in MN watching the annual gold/red/rust transformation of our trees each fall. I want to pull the car over and keep taking pictures as I drive around Minneapolis. And I think, “I wish everyone could see this.”. I am grateful for the gift of good vision. My nag to you all is I hope you are writing also in your journals – someday you’ll be glad you did. Keep the interesting posts coming. Love to all, Grandma Nancy


  3. Amy, you write so exceptionally well that it’s truly a joy to read your posts, as well as to ooooooo and ahhhhhhh at the Jacarandas! Love to you and the family! Uncle Mark


  4. Great post Wise Mama. It is all so true and I can totally relate! And I do have to say that those Jacarandas are AMAZING! Appreciating them from afar in your honor. 🙂 Love you!


  5. Thank you for this post! It brings back lots of memories for me! We had lots of jacaranda trees when I lived in AZ, and I fondly remember walking through the fallen blossoms. Nothing like it! Enjoy!


  6. What a wonderful post—heartfelt writing and words to linger over. I have never seen a jacaranda tree so I will live the moments vicariously through you and oooh and aaahh!


  7. Thank you for posting those lovely pictures of trees I have never seen! They are stunning and I really enjoy reading your musings as well. What an amazing year this already is!


  8. Pingback: Cycles | sevennorthdakotas

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