Naked breakfast, new view

I'd been wrong so long I was sure I was right. The messy tree on the backdoor neighbor's patio that shaded my patio was not a desirable soapberry. It was an invasive chinaberry. And was is the word.

Got home to find my neighbor had cut it down. The view out back seemed mighty bleak that gray afternoon.

People sometimes confuse Western soapberry with the non-native, highly invasive Chinaberry tree, which also has yellow berries and pinnately compound leaves. However, the berries of Chinaberry are opaque, never translucent, the flowers are lilac in color, and the compound leaves are twice-compound rather than once-compound.  *

Red admiral butterfly groovin' on April blossoms
When a shade tree fell over, knocking down my fence a dozen years ago, this new volunteer grew rapidly in its place. The newcomer tree lacked a pleasing growth pattern and dropped clusters of golden berries, small sticks and leaves. Much as I grouched about the tree's messiness, I loved the wild party action in this tree.

Each spring red admiral butterflies celebrated a bacchanalia, high on the fragrant lavender blossoms and in the mood for...

Hummingbirds rested ever so briefly on August branches preparing their next aerial dogfight around the nectar feeder.

Do not disturb!
Squirrels chewed and stripped away the bark, used the tree as a leap launch to my shed roof in winter, and chilled on hot days. Anole lizards sunned. Ringneck doves and mourning doves demonstrated their combined IQs.

Cedar waxwing

Whenever the tree was filled with cedar waxwings, the high whining of the flock felt like a chronic sinus infection! I love cedar waxwing style, but you can't ever love just one.

That avian whine might have been what drove my neighbor to the chainsaw.  James Thurber would understand.


My most exciting experience with the not-soapberry tree was in early March when a young hawk stared me down with its yellow eye from the low branches. The hawk's eye is the same yellow as these realio translucent soapberries on a tree down by the creek. The patio tree berries looked more like scorched scalded milk.

The new view has more clouds and sky.
So I'm looking at a new skyview with dramatic clouds and sunrises beyond the boring condo windows.  Closing this post with a surprising December sunrise with bare tree branches and cannas still in bloom.


As for the  "Naked Breakfast" title, I never read William Burroughs' book, Naked Lunch. I did see the 1991 film of the same name which gave me the creeps about insect exterminators and typewriters, but in a good way.

© 2013 Nancy L. Ruder

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