After my walk this morning I sat down in my backyard facing the banana trees. Actually I’ve learned that although I refer to them as a tree, that is not accurate terminology. They are ornamental plants. In our region of the country they do not produce bananas. From spring until the first hard frost they are merely eye candy around our swimming pool.
|Photo: Edward Westmacott
When we first moved into our house there were just three banana plants. Each year the mother plant produces what are called new “pups”. New pups have a better chance of survival if they stay attached to their mother until they are at least one foot tall, preferably three feet.
Pups can be separated and transplanted from the mother plant when they have grown two to three leafs of their own. I do have to be careful to distinguish between two different types of pups—sword pups and water sucker pups. It is important to keep weeding out any water sucker pups.
At first glance it is hard to tell one type of pup from the other. As soon as they leaf out they can no longer fool me. Water sucker pups have rounded leafs whereas the sword pups have leaves that look like spears opening into elongated, not round, leafs.
Our plant colony now has multiplied from the three original “mothers” to nine mature plants with sturdy bases and five immature pups in various stages of development.
Brand New Spear
The fascination I had this morning was watching what has been happening to a brand new spear shooting up from a mature plant. The variety of banana plants we have in our yard can reach up to 18 feet in height. This guy was approaching that elevation.
The tight spear unfurled into a shiny yellow-green leaf, it looked so innocent compared to neighboring older leaves which have been riddled by wind. The new leaf had perfect edges. No wind had given it a bad-hair-day-appearance yet. As it was climbing up into the sky it got caught in one of the branches of our neighbor’s mighty oak tree.
The leaf has now lost its fresh, innocent look. Each day the leaf gets more and more entangled among the brittle pin oak leaves. Although still attached to its mother and growing, every portion of the leaf that is caught in the oak tree is riddled. There is nothing its mother can do to change that. The leaf will forever bear multiple pin oak scars by the direction it chose to follow.
While in my backyard looking at the banana plants I thought of so many examples of Gods perfect plan for our lives and yet how Satan can so easily lure and entrap us. I thought too of how parents can raise a child from a “pup” yet eventually the child will choose his or her own direction in life.
Nature is God’s second book of wisdom and instruction. My banana plants give me much to ponder.