February 05

Thank You for the Allée!

I took a one hour break from writing aboard the houseboat to go for a walk along the river. About a mile down the river I saw an allée! An allée, from the French word for alley, is the proper term for two parallel rows of trees planted usually across a drive or walkway. This particular allée was the entrance to a hospital here in Sanford, Florida where I’m teaching for part of this week.

The allée, formed by old Live Oaks, was especially dramatic as is was dripping with live moss, a plant that only grows in the Deep South. It’s not just the symmetry I love in an allée; it’s the vision. Mature trees don’t like to be moved so when that allée was planted those trees were small for sure. You rarely see allées in new developments because they take too long to look like anything special. This allée was planted as a beautiful entry to the hospital. Let’s face it. Hospitals should have beauty to provide relief for suffering. In fact the hospital had one allée for the entry and a parallel allée for the exit drive so visitors got to see beauty both coming and going.

Whoever planted that allée knew that he or she was unlikely to live long enough to see it truly mature into the majestic, cathedral-like grouping of trees that it is now. Nevertheless, they planted it for us. Anytime you see an allée, it’s a gift. It’s a gift that was planted for you and for me to enjoy.