An Ode to Falcon Jacarandas

Stumbling through previously unknown Falcon websites this morning ~ my attention was drawn, as usual, to the beautiful rows of Jacaranda trees in full blossom lining the avenue beside the Dorms, and spinning back in time I was reminded of how often in passing them by multiple times per day when at the school, they would sometimes be the only things that would cheer me up.

As a result, many years later I paid homage to their beauty  ( and salvation ), by using the tree as my first and only website address. The one that you see above.

I could have chosen the more widely ranging Acacia tree, or the Mukwa, Mopane or Msasa ~ yet it was the gentle jacaranda that intrigued me the most, with its long pods full of delicate flighty seeds hanging in the wind.

So this morning I penned this ode to that tree, and thought to share that with you now.


Looking in at present day rows of jacaranda trees in the lane at Falcon,  beside those rambling old mine buildings with their hot tin roofs, I was brought spinning through through the years. From times when our hair was fair ~ but now has greyed.

Those same jacaranda that flowers there now, are those that we in our youth passed under so often then ~ we boys of yesteryear on our way to classes ; dorms, sports games and chapel.

And I think of the combined weight of we boys through the years. How many of our teachers, students, parents and visitors have passed beneath those same purple blossomed trees in that long tunnel of time. Long blue and grey lines of us since the birth of the school ~ all carrying our particular share of worries, burdens and joys.

If only those trees could speak of what they have seen and heard since then!  They might tell of boys racing to beat the second bell to the Dining Hall, some with ties askew and shirttails hanging out. Beware those wary Prefects taking notes! A black mark here, and another there…

Under those purple trees were new boys, scared witless to be facing the unknown; and miserable boys preferring to be at home; happy ones, so pleased to be back… all passing beneath that marvel of purple boughs.

All returned heaving from packed busses to that special place lodged so firmly in the African bush: tucked securely near the glaring whiteness of mine dumps. Those dumps in whose crevasses illegal smokers lurked. Those secret out-of-bound places that hid so many temptations for us all…

Boys dreaming, boys scheming, boys trying on shields of bravery. Boys learning to overcome their fear…

Long lines of we boys passing by that purple splendor, some sadly only ghosts now ~ gone from our joy. Yet once pals of our hearts, brothers in arms, alive with vigor and the tastes of adventures and freedoms together.

Friends for life some of them. Rivals some as well… But yet Falcon boys still. Proud to grow towards ‘Per Ardua Ad Solem’ and lately ‘Sic Itur Ad Astra’. All passing by beneath the purple blossoms of life.  Beneath those wise old jacaranda trees that were, and are still ~ witnesses for the aeons.

Mute testaments to youth, striding timidly at first, and then firmly,  bravely, into their futures…

Michael Lee

Hervey, 1958-1961

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