Sand, surf, tropical vacations, these are what we tend to think of when we see a palm tree. But, have we ever really stopped to think about, or inquisitively investigate a palm tree in its entirety? Palm trees tend to stand out from their fellow tree peers. The difference in appearance could attribute to this, but for me, the difference is that the palm trees, just like the Costa Ricans, know how to embrace the true Pura Vida lifestyle.
Several times I find myself constantly rushing to get things accomplished. I’m a “list checker offer” I guess you could say. I like to finish my tasks so I know I won’t have to worry about them later. However, the more and more time I have spent rushing, the more I have found myself reaping no rewards.
One day, while on the bus for one of my weekend excursions, I looked out the window to the endless parade of palm trees lining the streets. I began to study their structure and made several mental notes. They are tall, skinny, and erect standing trees with juxtaposed droopy and lazy leaves that gravity likes to take advantage of. Palm trees are truly something foreign and unique.
I began to realize these palm trees are a metaphor for life. Palm trees are not like other trees in the sense that they do not grow thicker, only taller. In life we do the same. We build on our previous accomplishments, learn along the way, and rise to the next challenge. Because of their inability to grow thicker, palm trees’ skinny support systems makes them known for their flexibility. When the wind blows, they don’t put up a fight, they simply follow suit. We must do the same.
I never thought I could find a guidance counselor in a tree, but the palm tree has provided me with advice especially useful while on my journey to learning Spanish. Learning a language is not about racing to cross things off a list, rather it is a process which will throw us many curve balls. We build up, not out, on our abilities to learn from various cultures, just like the trunks of the palm trees. We find comfort and relaxation in the moments when we realize gravity can sometimes pull us down, just like the leaves of the palm trees. We learn to accept. We learn to grow. We learn to reap the benefits of taking life for what it is. That is pura vida. That is the pure life that makes our journey on earth so prosperous. And, if a palm tree can master this, so can we!
Leafy, lofty, and with love,