Pepper Tree (Schinus molle)

Redwood & Sprouting Twig

Ginkgo with Five Branches

"Three Graces" Eucalyptus

Four Friends on Montebello Ave

I greet four friends on Montebello Ave
neglected for a month since moving here
as I'm always running on the other side
of the street each morning to catch the bus.

Now I stroll slowly and meet the Pepper Tree—
its giant Y-branch like the Pythagorean Path
welcomes me home— its twisted trunk aged
and ragged like the Sibyl of Cumae

but its leaflets sway gracefully like a young
maiden with tiny seeds of golden grapes.
There are two lion faces in its dark bark—
I touch one of its nose and ask for courage.

Passing by Sequoia sempervirens,
I run my hand along those old grooves,
pray to the Redwood for strength & wisdom
from this sagacious sentinel on this street.

Next is Ginkgo biloba with five branches
like five fingers of a hand soaring skyward—
its green leaves like tiny fans in the wind.
A snail has found a home to rest in its bark.

Last is Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon)
with peeling barks and fluttering crescent leaves.
Your three trunks are the Three Graces teaching
me civility and I pray before you for blessings.

        — Peter Y. Chou
            Mountain View, 7-13-2014

Y-Branch of Pepper Tree

Grape Cluster Seeds Pepper Tree

Lion Face Pepper Tree Barks