Sunday, February 5, 2012

Wild tamarind ~ scars

(Click to view larger)
“There is something beautiful 
about all scars of whatever nature.  
 A scar means the hurt is over, 
the wound is closed and healed,
done with.”

Last month I spotted this tree trunk near the post office parking lot and had to sketch it.  I didn’t have my sketch kit with me, but I did have some ruled/graph paper and a mechanical pencil!  My attention was caught by the healed-over scars and the smooth bark of the tree.  I’ve been feeling a bit scarred by life, and I felt a kinship with this tree and its visible history of wounds.

Last week I parked near the same tree again, and took a moment to collect a seedpod and leaflet to sketch later.  I believe this is a wild tamarind tree, Lysiloma latisiliquum (also L. bahamensis).   
The seedpod is cream-colored with deep brown markings.
A member of the bean family, Fabaceae, it produces bean-like seeds in a flat pod which remain on the tree year-round.  .  The flowers are fragrant white puffballs that appear in the spring.  The feathery leaves look a bit tattered right now, but I can imagine how lovely they’ll look when the new growth emerges.
The bi-pinnate leaf.

The leaves are bi-pinnately (or double) compound. In other words, they aren’t just compound leaves, but compound times two.  This adds to their delicate and lacy appearance.  I sketched the leaf and the seedpod with an ordinary mechanical pencil on white printer paper.  

Its fast growth, broad canopy, and wide tolerance of soils and growing conditions make this a tree a popular choice for shade.  It’s also salt tolerant, which makes it a good choice for coastal areas.  Wild tamarind is native to South Florida, the Bahamas, and the West Indies, so you’d be right to suspect that it’s not cold tolerant.  The bark is a soothing shade of light grey, with a light texture. 

I hope you enjoyed my drawing of one of our tropical trees, despite the scars.  Like the words in the quote above, I find something beautiful in them.  What I didn’t fully realize before I came across this quote, is that the very nature of a scar signifies a triumph.  So I dedicate these sketches to all who bear the marks of Life’s mishaps and mischief.  Your scars tell a story, not just of the pain, but of the healing. 

For more information on Wild Tamarind: