Spring has sprung! As usual for this time of year the weather is unpredictable. Yesterday it was warm and sunny and I sat outside in the garden last night in short sleeves. During the night the wind picked up and I woke up to cool and cloudy. It doesn't matter though because I can see spring around me everywhere: Wildflowers are blooming, butterflies are fluttering about and the neighbour's flock of sheep is dotted with tiny lambs on wobbly legs.
As optimistic as spring makes me want to feel it's not easy to be positive here in Libya. My rose-coloured glasses are picking up the happy sights of spring, but that is about all they are seeing. Reality hits when each morning and afternoon I check out the news services to see what's going on... ugh! The prime minister was sacked, the airport was bombed and flights cancelled and suspended, reports of assassinations and kidnappings and bomb attacks and on and on and on.... a seemingly endless list of negative, negative, negative... I'm not even going to put the links here because it's just too depressing.
On the 8th of March I hit a milestone - it marked the anniversary of my arrival in Libya - 25 years in Libya! That's half of my life. I had thought about buying 25 trees and planting them in different places around Tripoli to mark this day... but then I realistically decided against it.
Generally speaking, Libyans are tree haters and I'd just find it distressing to see the poor trees suffering from abuse. I hate to see the condition of the trees around town. Even in my area of town which is semi-rural farmland the trees are in pretty bad shape. When I lived in Benashur I planted mimosa trees from seeds I got from a tree in my mother's garden in Florida. The trees grew into wonderful green, shady places where birds found refuge. After I moved out the neighbour killed the trees by stripping the bark from their trunks... the reason for killing the trees: "People are parking their cars in the shade under them and I don't want anyone parking in front of the building" So now there are bleak skeletons where there once had been beauty. I seldom go down that street anymore because the sight of the dead trees makes me feel ill.
My decision not to plant trees around town didn't prevent me from stopping in at a plant nursery and having a look at the trees and plants on display. The owner happened to be there and I chatted with him about different types of trees. My dream for many years has been to have a magnolia tree in my garden so I asked him why there are no magnolia trees here. He looked startled and stood back and looked at me and said "You know about trees! You are the first person who has ever mentioned magnolia trees to me!" He then went on to say that he had shipped a few of them in from Italy, two of them he had planted in his friend's garden and the other two were at his other nursery. He said I was welcome to have a look at them and purchase them if I liked.
|This is a magnolia blossom... imagine a tree covered with such immense blooms. |
The newspapers give you an idea of the size.
I haven't made up my mind. Should I buy the trees and plant them in my garden like I've always wanted, or not. What is stopping me?