Jacaranda trees look like they are dead for much of the year. In the late months of the dry season they are often chopped down because people assume the dilapidated branches have run their course, have lived their life. However, if you leave the tree standing for a few more weeks, the rain may come and that may bring vivid purple flowers sprouting out of the stony branches.
Most of us have an idea of what is right and what is wrong.
One hot sunny afternoon when we were about 12 years old I was at Jimmy’s house. A large garden of five acres and good weather meant we were outdoors most of the time. Jimmy’s house was exciting. He had all the toys and as we got older the toys just got bigger and better. I was deliriously happy because we got to ride Jimmy’s motorbike all day. This was no kid’s bike either – Jimmy had a 250cc motocross bike. Pull on the throttle too hard and the front wheel flipped you off the back. Get it just right and you felt as though you were flying. I could barely contain my happiness.
After a couple of hours of giddy fun we ran out of fuel to ride the bike and Jimmy got bored. Then he got visibly agitated at the petrol situation. He started to accuse me of riding his bike too much, of taking over his riding time and burning all the petrol. An accusation for a fight, but before the argument could get going Jimmy spotted his cat drinking from a bowl. I didn’t even know that he had a cat until that moment. For Jimmy, it was a new target.
“Looks like your chain is a little rusty there, Moggy!” Jimmy took a can of spray-on lubricant and decided to terrorize his cat. Cornering it against two walls, Jimmy sprayed the can onto his pet. A stream of thick, black goop shot at the animal. The whiskers dripped with oil, the hair was a sticky mess. Furry legs tried in vain to shake it off. Jimmy laughed while I stared in shock and the cat screeched and hissed at us, leaping feet into the air only to be sprayed again into submission.
Eventually the can ran out of oil and Jimmy ran out of laughs. I tried to absorb what I had seen, but the experience seemed to drip off my body and gather in a pool at my feet. The cat ran off to regain its stolen pride. I managed to force a smile at Jimmy. Slightly unhinged, Jimmy and I moved on to the next toy.