I don’t know why I decided to write this, but I suspect it is a combination of the following:
- I’m absolutely exhausted from working a tour all day.
- I’ve been taking long walks through my neighborhood, which is completely overgrown with a variety of gigantic subtropical trees.
- I’m feeling particularly ecological this evening.
- Like usual, my nose is buried in a fantasy novel whenever possible.
The Ficus Benghalensis – or commonly known as the banyan tree – is a native of India. In Sanskrit it’s called the nyagrodha. I don’t really care what it is called or where it came from; all I care about is the fact that banyan trees are now common in southern Florida. I love them. I really do.
My little brother psychoanalyzed me and told me that the reason I read and write fiction is because I’m not satisfied with the world I live in. I had never thought about myself that way, but I realized he was completely right. I often feel as if I was born into the wrong world – or at least in the wrong time period. When I see a banyan tree, I imagine a vast, beautiful forest dense with these subtropic giants. I think of them as old and wise beings who at any moment might decide to utter something profound if someone would simply take the time to listen. San Jacinto Park (pictured below) boasts several ent-like banyans. When I look at this picture, I imagine a fairy-tale landscape. I imagine that elves are living in clever homes formed from the massive tangle of aerial roots that stream down the sides of these trees. When I see these trees I imagine a world I wish I could live in.
The banyan tree is the national tree of India. In that country, the tree is respected, considered sacred, and sometimes worshipped. If I were an ancient person living in India, I imagine that I would try to make my home beneath or in one of these amazing trees.