City skylines seem to have become an icon in graphic design and photography, and it's not hard to understand why. For me, I've grown accustomed to remembering my trips to London and New York City whenever I see an outline of the London Eye and Big Ben or the Empire State Building. While city skylines remind me of my travels in the world, I've found that I feel more deeply connected with a different silhouette on the horizon line.
Palm trees have always been a part of my backyard. Literally speaking, my earliest memories of growing up in Southern California consist of running around in my yard with my little brothers, where we have three large palm trees lining our driveway and two tall ones in the back. Little orange seeds would fall from the palms onto the driveway. My dad would sweep them up every week, sweeping from one end of our driveway all the way to the other. Our dog would try to eat the little seeds.
Outside of our yard, we'd always pass the many tall, skinny trees lining the beach walk as we drove to school. When we went to the park to fly kites, one of our kites got stuck in a tall palm tree across the main road, thus, making it impossible to retrieve.
It's kind of weird to be glorifying a bunch of wonky trees, but I just never noticed how often they came up in my pictures and memories until now. Looking at my Instagram profile and Flickr, I saw a lot of sunsets and beach scenes, but a palm tree always made its way into a picture. I don't know why.
Maybe it's because, unlike a lot of other trees, palm trees have a really distinct silhouette. Profile-wise, they are mostly a really long trunk with huge fronds that fall like the hair in a girl's high ponytail. Fireworks on sticks? But I also love looking upwards into a palm tree and seeing the fronds splash out like a giant sun.
I also believe these trees to be extremely iconic. Kids always add a palm tree to their drawings of tropical islands. I know. I draw with them at daycare.
There's also this street in LA that is lined with palm trees that always appears in television and movies. Characters who are originally from the big city, the midwest, or even central CA roll down this street in a convertible, wearing sunglasses. They pass the tall trees, basking in the sunlight and enjoying their travels in sunny LA.
Whatever it is, either the shape, the symbolic nature, or something else, I am truly thankful for and in awe of these giant wonders.