This is the house where I grew up. The Canary Island date palm on the right and the birds who congregated there were a constant presence during my childhood.
It was one of two palms in the garden that were home to hundreds of sparrows and other birds, who made a loud twittering noise as they nestled into the trees’ fronds every evening. You can just glimpse the long, twisted, orange stalks that carried clusters of white flowers in Spring – to the delight of bees – and large clumps of yellow and orange dates in Autumn that the birds fed on.
The trees’ narrow leaflets rustled in the slightest wind. There was a streetlight on the corner, so the gently moving shadows of the leaves appeared on my bedroom wall, lulling me to sleep. Perhaps this is why I love trees so much . . . . and birds too.
The photo was taken several years ago in Warrnambool, the land of the Gunditjimara people. The palms have grown to a huge height since I lived there. The house overlooks the town’s Botanical Gardens where eucalypts, cypresses and other exotic trees grow. The home is now heritage listed. It was built in the 1880s, so the palms are most likely more than 100 years old.