It must have been in college, I think. I was reading an issue of National Geographic. The place I most often read those was at Grandmother's house.
Back in high school I harbored the dream of one day traveling the world, writing and photographing for the magazine. That was back when I actually printed pictures in a dark room and experienced photography as a real adventure. (Not that it isn't now, but it certainly doesn't have the same challenge appeal for me anymore. Or maybe it just fed my ego then, since it was much harder back then to take good pictures?) It was also before I realized how taxing continual travel is to me as a person.
Anyway, I used to read National Geographic passionately, and at some point in those years I came across an article on ginkgo trees.
As far as I know, I had never seen a ginkgo tree at that time in my life; small-town Searcy didn't have much beyond the native tress, I don't think.
So I read this article about these ancient trees, thought to be the most primitive tree still alive today, possibly around back with the dinosaurs. And I saw photos of shimmering gold, fan-shaped leaves, and I wondered if I would ever get to see such a tree.
So you can imagine my delight here in Memphis, where we have at least two ginkgos on our very street, one around the corner, a couple at church, four in a row on a street near our neighborhood, and four in a row at my new counseling office. I see ginkgos daily!
And they never disappoint.
They're beautiful even on the ground, scatterings of fallen gold.
Blue sky is their best backdrop.
Blue tablecloth is nice, too. I always have to bring a little bit of ginkgo home.