August 30th, 2018

It was an oversight to visit Los Angeles for eight days and not take more intentional photographs of the palm trees that tower over the city’s residential neighbourhoods. I’ve visited this area five times now, and every time I find myself talking most about the palm trees, thinking most about the palm trees, and then, when I leave, remembering the palm trees.

More specifically, the Mexican Fan Palm (pictured here before my friend Tara), the tallest species in Los Angeles. The oldest Mexican Palm Trees in Los Angeles still standing today were planted in 1870 in a place now referred to as the Avenue of Palms (pictured below). The majority of the other Mexican Fan Palms were planted in advance of the 1932 Olympic Games. Their ubiquity belies the fact that they are not native to California and when they die out (which they are) they will be replaced with trees that provide a better canopy and require less water.

It’s the Romantic in me that loves the palm trees. Because they are unfamiliar, they spark my imagination. They dominate the skyline despite their thinness. They are a sharp line and then a burst of unruly form. When the sun is setting, they are awash with gold and pink. Against a twilit sky, they cut abyssal silhouettes. They don’t belong here, and yet.

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