A new light.

I’ve never much cared for it, as I’d prefer a pepper, fern pine or white birch tree to the carrotwood that’s in front of the house. But tonight I found new love for it.

It recently received a haircut, and this evening it seemed to be standing more tall and proud than usual. It used to have a friend on the other side of the yard, but said friend was wreaking havoc on the concrete and had to be taken out.

Through the freshly pruned branches and sparse leaves, the sky appeared a lovely, dark shade of charcoal gray. The only thing darker was the shadow of the tree itself. A week ago, pre-haircut, the thing was so dense that looking out the window meant seeing nothing more than pure black. Now there is shading to the night.

I’m not sure why I’m not a fan of the carrotwood tree. Perhaps I’ve grown up with them and I equate it to something old, something vintage, something dingy and decidedly part of the ’70s. Maybe it’s because I stepped on one too many of its miniature pumpkin-shaped pods as a child — pods which felt about as good as stepping on a tiny pine cone. I admit that my tree envy takes up the better part of my evening walks. Here a jacaranda, there a weeping willow — oh, how I love a good tree.

But I saw the carrotwood in a new light a while ago — literally. Its waxy, substantial, long oval leaves were reflecting the moonlight, and it was shimmering. Yes, my old, boring carrotwood was illuminated. It was almost glowing; its halo seemed to fit it quite well. It’s like it had been reborn.

Sometimes the things we’ve had the longest are the things that begin to adopt a dulling patina. Over the years, that which we never scrutinized and perhaps even enjoyed suddenly becomes something we’re less than enamored with, and that we might even wish we could be rid of. Maybe we compare it to what our friends have, what strangers have, or maybe we just long for a new view. Whatever the case, the tried and true can seem dusty and drab in the blink of an eye. But what was a bushy tree with gray-brown bark a few days ago became something new tonight — new because its recent refresh gave way to my eyes being opened to its renewed beauty. As I look out the window now, the halo is still there — perfectly in place and shining through the night. For a new, fresh view of the carrotwood and the realization that sometimes it’s not the old that becomes dated — it’s our way of looking at it — I am thankful.

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