There are mysteries in our lives that may only be solved by the passing of years.
They might equate to the skeletons in our closet that come to life only after a parent has died or perhaps, like Edison, after a thousand failures success finally comes.
My mystery seems trite in such matters but it has affected my life nevertheless and causes me to believe that Someone greater than I has led me along life’s path.
As a Greek Australian, I grew up in a multicultural society with primary school friends surnamed Gunawardana, Kisnorbo, Baghdikian, Shillong and Khan. We played in each others backyards and when hungry, our mothers would bring us snacks of banana, fresh coconut, dates, watermelon – the fruits of our culture. In Summer we’d climb each others fruit trees, sit among the branches eating their ripe fruit and listen to the chatter of our parents speaking their mother tongue. My favourite tree was the loquat planted by the Gunawardanas but they called it ‘mooskoola’ , the same name used by the Greeks. The trees in my yard were apple, apricot and figs and beyond the fence there were native trees like eucalyptus and English stock like willows, oaks and planes.
Sometime in junior high school I started doodling palm trees and pineapples on the back of essays, while listening to the teacher read or while trying to solve a maths problem. I noticed most boys doodled cubes like Wallace still does, and my girlfriends doodled swirly-whirleys and love hearts. Sure, as a love-sick teen I doodled names of boys and swirls and love hearts but they ceased and my palm trees and pineapples followed me into adult life.
Sometimes when speaking on the phone I would start to draw a palm tree and it annoyed me that I was still doing these silly childish doodles. When feelings overwhelmed me, or Wallace and I had argued, I’d draw a palm tree and sit and look at it and eventually wonder, what does it all mean?
In my late 30’s we started the first of many trips to India and it was there that I first saw a field of coconut trees, their frou-frou tops are like the palms but with lankier trunks. When posted to Indonesia we ate the sweetest pineapples on earth and had a coconut tree in our front yard. Ten years later, when we moved to Qatar, I was driving down a palm tree-lined street and it hit me! Here were the trees I had drawn all my life and here was the life I was now living and it seemed to me to be my destiny to live in Arabia.
No wonder, last week when I went to see a rental property I barely looked at the features of the house. I just fell in love with the four grand palm trees that are swaying in the garden there, plump with dates and I look forward to sitting under them and contemplating what my future has in store for me here.