You cannot hide who you are

Alone on a stretch of shore with nothing to keep it company save various reeds and grasses, a tree stands in winter nakedness against a backdrop of earth, wind, and water, three of the five classical elements.

A Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) stands naked on the winter shore of White Rock Lake, its white seeds still evident on each branch (20080223_02068)

I stare at it for some time, wondering what shape its life will take when once again it dons the verdant cloth of foliage.

But the closer I look, the more I realize even its nudity betrays its true self, its very nature.

The limbs of a Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) in winter with the white seed clusters still intact (20080223_02074)

White like chalk and waxy like candles, its essence dangles from each branch, its name writ upon each seed waiting to give rise to another of its kind, to a tree like this one.

Known by many names, such as Florida aspen, chicken tree, and white wax berry tree, none identifies it more easily than this simple moniker: popcorn tree.

A close-up of the white seed clusters of a Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) (20080223_02073)

No, my ligneous friend, you cannot hide who you are even in winter.  No matter what flesh you wear, the truth of your soul remains evident.

[Chinese tallow (a.k.a. Florida aspen, chicken tree, vegetable tallow, white wax berry tree, or popcorn tree; Triadica sebifera, sometimes referred to as Sapium sebiferum)]

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