Asymmetric Bay Tree

Photo © Peter Y. Chou— Asymmetric Bay Tree
at corner of Middlefield Road & San Antonio Road
Palo Alto, CA; Traffic on October 10, 2013, 12:30 pm

There is symmetry in most trees
with branches balanced on both sides
but here's an exception to nature's
rule and I am wondering why?

On the corner of Middlefield Road
and San Antonio Road in front
of Jiffy Lube in Palo Alto
is a Bay Tree with two branches

growing parallel to each other
with emptiness on the other side.
Bus #35 turns at this corner
on my way to Foothill College

and for sixteen years I've not
noticed the tree's asymmetry
until now, so I stopped to ask
the tree for its unusual growth.

Standing at the corner I noticed
more cars on San Antonio Road
heading to Highway 101 than
traffic on Middlefield Road.

So that's why this branch grew
in the direction with less noise
to form the Greek word nabla
first used by William Hamilton

to denote the del operator
for the gradient in mathematics.
He chose the nabla ∇ symbol as
it resembled an Egyptian harp.

Amidst the heavy corner traffic,
two Bay Tree branches are so close
to each other hugging and kissing,
playing harp music for the angels.

    — Peter Y. Chou
        Mountain View, 10-22-2013

Asymmetric Bay Tree at corner
of Middlefield & San Antonio Roads

Traffic on Middlefield Road

Traffic on San Antonio Road

Egyptian Harp in the shape of nabla