As lemon trees go, it is hardly a stunner. It has all the symmetry of a congressional district.
When the uniformed arborist came to look at our listing lemon tree a few years ago, he did not seem encouraged. I recognized the grave look of an oncologist, leavened with the appropriate shade of optimism to keep any improbable options open.
But he offered a few hopeful remarks and ordered the trunk where it split lashed together with a tightly bound strip of rubber.
The trunk had cracked from the weight of a branch. The lemon tree had continued to grow in deformed fashion until it sagged and sprawled and generally seemed destined for self-destruction.
The arborist’s fix worked. Two main branches still splay from the main trunk and the other branches are crowded both by our house and the encroaching canopy of a nearby mesquite tree.
But the tree produces reliable crops of fine lemons and stays standing when the summer storms come through.
Now, on one of the lower limbs of the same branch that once threatened to split the trunk and pull the tree down to the ground, a White-winged Dove has built a nest.
What made me notice was a dangling strand of dried grass flown in from far away. The nest took shape just as the last of the lemons, ones up high which I hadn’t picked, were falling. When they were no longer a threat, an egg was laid.
The dove sits on her nest, always facing south, her feathers the same dull gray as the branches of the lemon tree, the centerpiece of another one of nature’s perfect arrangements.