Heather eyes our palm trees
In July of last year, before Joel and I moved to Saba, there was a little “incident” with the beautiful palm trees lining the stonewall surrounding our yard. We got a call from our caretaker, David Johnson, telling us that the electric company had cut them down because they were brushing some electrical wires outside the house during hurricane season.

Disappointments or Life Lessons?
At first, I was shocked – we have an amazing 20 foot traveler’s palm and 4 beautiful small palms that bloom with red berries right in the middle of the trunk. These are the trees that I dreamed of every time I sat in my New Hampshire home, dreaming of being in Saba. We actually have a rare, flat yard with grass – and surrounded by flowers planted by the previous owner, Phillip Rowland. Many times, Joel and I have found ourselves appreciating the ability to sit on our lounge chairs in the yard, with privacy & shade from the palms, while gazing out at the ocean. Or being able to do yoga outside in the yard without attracting a crowd of tourists wondering at my desire to fold up pretzle style. I am grateful to Phillip and our caretaker, David, for having the vision and commitment to keeping the yard the flower-filled hummingbird sanctuary that it is.

So you can imagine how I felt when David said the trees were chopped down. Joel and I were in New Hampshire at the time and months away from our move to Saba. We were devastated, but understood that there are reasons things are done on islands that our American mindsets may not comprehend. I have to say that my first reaction was anger — “How could they do that???” And then I stepped back for a moment — as I have learned to do since becoming a success coach — after all, how much good would I be doing my clients if I didn’t walk my talk?

Whose Perspective Anyway?
I considered the situation from the perspective of the locals. Trees that could impact electricity during hurricane season become less a beautiful part of nature and more an intrusion on being able to say, cook food or run a refrigerator, for example. And things grow quickly in Saba, so cutting things down is less devastating there than it is for us in New England. Yup, stepping outside of my own mindset really helped. The other thing that helped was my favorite author, Eckhart Tolle. He says that whenever we don’t accept what is (our current situation), we suffer. Just like our web server hacking experience, Joel and I decided to accept what had happened. Maybe it was all just practice — you have to love life for allowing us to get good at this stuff, huh? In any event, it is lucky we didn’t waste a lot of time being angry and upset, because it really wasn’t so bad after all….

Hacking on the Vegetation Front
Thankfully, when we arrived in Saba, we found that the trees were not “cut down” but trimmed as only a hacker could. They looked a bit like a child with a pair of scissors had tried to cutting her own hair (yes, I did this as a child – my mother was not impressed!). But they were still standing and with the climate in Saba, they have fully recovered.

No More Wires In Saba
Joel and I went to speak to Dexter, of the electric company, about burying the wires outside our house so that there would no longer be issues with the trees. In fact, Saba is burying all phone & electrical wires on the island, for hurricane safety and to preserve the beauty of the island. Saba is referred to as the “Unspoiled Queen” and is being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site and this will be one more way to experience true beauty, “untouched” by the modern world.

Banana Tree? Palm Tree? Bird of Paradise?
Our traveler’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis ) is one of only about 4 on the island – and it’s quite a magnificent plant. Often seen in Florida – they are described as a cross between a banana tree (leaves) and a palm tree – although it’s not a true palm. They grow from a stump-like criss-cross pattered trunk, with long finger-like green branches, ending in these banana-leaf-looking leaves. Our traveler’s palm is starting to bud, which results in funny growths in the middle of the plant, resembling birds of paradise buds. The flower of a traveler’s palm is white. You may also notice that the leaves of our traveler’s palm are “shredded,” which often happens in strong breezes, like hurricane season.

Wishing Well
The traveler’s palm has very deep roots in folklore and tradition. Have you ever wanted to have your very own wishing well? The traveler’s palm may be just the plant for you! It is said, “If a traveler stands directly in front of a traveler’s palm and makes a wish in good spirit – that wish will definitely come true.”

The traveler’s palm gets its name from the fact that thirsty travelers could find stores of water in many parts of the plant including the leaf folds, flower bracts and inside each of the hollow leaf bases each of which may hold up to one quart of water! Although not a true palm, the traveler’s palm is considered one of the most striking and unique trees in nature. It is perfect for that special accent in your tropical landscape. The traveler’s palm is unique in nature and is monotypic, meaning it is the only species in its genus. The species name, madagascariensis, denotes its origin in Madagascar.

Be forewarned, that although the traveler’s palm has no thorns, it is sure to snag most everyone’s attention. It is the the main attraction and focus of any tropical landscape in which it appears!
Source: Floridata.com