The Valley of Palms
The palm trees along highway 281
Begin popping up just south of Encino,
Their fronds waving hello,
Welcome me home. I sigh with relief –
A regal sabal stands against a slate sky,
A bit of paradise in the brushland,
Just a taste of the magic to come,
As I return to the valley, this place
I’ve learned to call home, like the palm,
Who, as I race south, multiply,
Dig their shallow roots into this soil
And claim it their own, the great-grandchildren
Of palms from the Greece
or Florida or California
Who grow tall and proud,
tower over the nopales,
The mesquite, the huisache.
The palms, like me, are immigrants
To this landscape. Honeybees drink
From the queen palms nectar.
Kisskadees have learned to feast
On dates. The valley welcomes
Us with open arms, a gulf breeze,
A tight hug, a kiss on the cheek.
Like the palms, I’ve found my home.