The woodsman


NOW AND THEN, a banana tree has to come down. They make the decision themselves by choosing to be parents, sprouting a banana bunch.

The bananas they sprout, due no doubt to their being out of their natural tropical element hereabouts, are pathetic little things. Parenthood on the mountaintop must be such a bitter disappointment for them.

When a banana tree enters parenthood, it’s the death of her, literally, and she doesn’t die nicely. Her offspring, dangling there on an outstretched limb, start sloughing off crap which litters the ground, making a mess.

I detest them for it.

I have often planted things in the yard that sounded like a great idea at the time. Trumpet vines, magueys, ground cover, banana trees, other stuff I cannot name. I now curse them all.

And I’ve removed them all, sometimes at great effort. The only exception are the three stands of bananas that started with three little trees that were knee-high to a grasshopper back then. A Gringo who lived here years ago, Roy Reynolds, told me when I planted them:

You’re gonna regret that.  Alas, I ignored him.

This morning I headed out to the stand inside the property wall against the front street. There were two, towering mamas there with their nasty little kiddies tossing crap all over the cement-and-rock ground. I had a wheelbarrow, hedge trimmers and a pruning saw.

paulLuckily, neither tree fell on me as they thundered to the ground. Neither did they drop on nearby planters or the Olmec head. Banana trees can be very heavy, but they are easy to cut.

I ended up with two wheelbarrow loads, which I toted to the Garden Patio out back and dumped on the cement floor. I always feel winded after these tasks. Perhaps I should hire someone, but I keep thinking I can do anything — and so far I can.

I will, however, employ Abel the deadpan neighbor who mows the grass weekly to come over and haul them to a ravine just past his house. He likes to earn pesos, and I like to pay him. Easier that way.

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(Note: Due to cancer, I have been bald since last Sunday. Details here.