Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fan Palms

While my daughter and I were in California to see my parents, we went out to see a fan palm oasis north of Palm Springs. These oases form along the San Andreas Fault, where the slipping fault blocks push water to the surface. The largest and coolest of the plants that colonize the oases is the California Fan Palm, the only palm that retains its leaves after they die; the result is that they end up looking like giant yetis with green hats.

Sitting among the palms was an amazing experience; the closest comparisons I know are to the Muir redwoods or Ste Chapelle. The sense of height, of reaching to the skies, is more pronounced in these enclosed spaces than on the wide-open Montana plains; it is a peaceful and inspiring sense of security and mystery.

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