A Phoenix in the Orange Grove

I once remarked that “being a competent human in relationship is about as easy as sawing through a giant sequoia with a spool of dental floss.” As the week marks the ninth year with Mr. Omar, this lumber Jane is still at it with similar sentiments, though perhaps with more acceptance of the inevitable and less exasperation than when I first wrote the words.

In the nine years together, I’ve learned not to be romantic. Maybe I never really was so (who knows), but my biggest plan for the day involves buying a sack of juicing oranges and taking a selfie captioned “chillin’ with my main squeeze.”

It’s sort of fitting; one of our more romantic-ish moments involved an orange grove, though I want the laugh more than anything else, along with the chance to make a flamethrower from the orange peels afterward. I’ve wanted to try the orange peel-flamethrower experiment since I first read about it. As they say, relationships should help you fulfill your goals and all that. An anniversary seems the perfect excuse.

Along with comedic fruits and mildly dangerous experiences, California trees have always fascinated me since I was a girl. I have a pretty fidgety mind; knowing these trees have been standing in the same spot longer than whole civilizations and ancient religions is nothing short of boggling.

I think their longevity speaks also to relationships in a special way. Real life phoenixes, the fire-resistant sequoias are born from fire, using the heat and ash to help disperse and protect their seeds.

In other words, giant sequoia have learned not only to weather flaming passions and destructive forces, but also to turn them into opportunities. If that’s not an example for love, I’m not sure what is.

It’s sort of a jumbled metaphor; I speak of immortal trees as love and also of cutting them down, but maybe that also speeks of the jumble that is love. At the end of the day relationships are less about “making the cut” and being competent and more about deep roots, joyful effort and the occasional flaming orange.