Daniel and I had driven Upcountry. The hills of Maui were abloom in jacarandas then as well, and their lilac purple bursts of color dotted the lush green hills. Turn to one side and you’d see the gentle slopes of Maui’s Upcountry. Turn to the other, and you’d be rewarded with a view of the distant ocean. We daydreamed about moving here, living here, owning a farm, spending afternoons on the beach. We wandered into an artist’s studio and admired his paintings — paintings of breathtaking sandy stretches, peaceful country lanes bordered by lush palm trees, pictures of rural life on this Hawaiian island. I was especially taken with a large painting of grand, lonely jacaranda. The painting was beautiful, but more than I could afford. I have returned to it more than once in my mind, wishing I would have invested in that lovely painting that would have reminded me of our lovely time in Maui.
So all this came to mind last Wednesday as I drove through Santa Ana, admiring again the purple trees. And then I remembered back to last spring in Santa Ana, 2015. I remembered one morning when I drove a sleepy Dragon to school, barely arriving before the 8:00 bell. Dragon jumped out of the car, donned his backpack, grabbed his trombone from the back seat, and with a quick “Thanks, Mom,” he ran across the crosswalk with the other OCSA kids crossing Main. I closed the minivan’s automatic door, made the left at Main, and took off. But as I drove down the streets of Santa Ana, I noticed the arbor of purple trees. The lacy jacarandas were in bloom. It was April. Dragon was almost done with his first year of high school. We’d fallen into a routine of driving our high schooler, not a morning person and always too sleepy to make conversation, to Santa Ana every morning, and picked him up again later that afternoon, at 5:00. I was looking forward to the end of the school year, when I would be relieved of my school chauffeur duties. “I’d always known motherhood would be a lot of work, but I never knew how much driving it would entail!” I’d been known to complain. The trees were so lovely, that morning last April, I was inspired to snap a photo with my phone when I stopped at a light. I looked at the photo later, and mourned that it didn’t do justice to the real thing. “But, at least,” I thought, “I’ve captured an image of the jacarandas.”
And here I was now, 2016, driving these same Santa Ana streets, driving this time to Newsong, to deliver six keyboards on behalf of The Dragon Kim Foundation. No more chauffeuring a grumpy teenager back and forth through Santa Ana. No son. But once again, in late April, the jacarandas.