I’m pleased to welcome Marion Ueckermann to the blog today! Marion is another Splash! author, who writes lovely Christian romances.
Her wonderful African story Orphaned Hearts is highly recommended.
A WEDNESDAY WANDER TO THE SYCAMORE FIG
I love trees. Especially big ones with unusually-shaped branches. When we lived in Ireland I would marvel at the beautiful old oaks and other giants we frequently saw.
In South Africa we have several that make me go, “Wow!” One of these species lines the streets of the capital city where I live. In fact, Pretoria is famous for the jacaranda tree and is therefore known as Jacaranda City. Most days the jacaranda is a pretty ordinary-looking tree, but come late spring / early summer and these trees burst into a canopy of color, washing the streets below in a carpet of purple as their blossoms fall to the ground.
My favorite is the fever tree—a ghostly, almost luminous lime green to greenish-yellow tree belonging to the Acacia family. This street, up the road from my house, is lined with fever trees.
In the days of the early pioneers, travelers or people living where these trees grew contracted a bad fever and associated their illness with the fever tree. Of course, they were wrong. Fever trees grow in swampy places and are therefore ideal breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitos. But because of the myth these early settlers spread, the Acacia xanthophloea Benth. got the name ‘fever tree’.
Another great tree you’ll find in South Africa is the Vachellia tortilis, and is also from the Acacia family. It’s easy to see why this canopied tree got its common name ‘umbrella thorn acacia’. You’ll find the umbrella tree in the savanna and Sahel of Africa, but also in the Middle East.
The last tree, and probably the most unusual of them all that I’d like to share with you, is also one you’ll equate with the Middle East—the sycamore fig. These enormous trees have the most intricately-woven root system. Perhaps that’s why a short man like Zacchaeus was able to scramble up the gigantic sycamore fig to see Jesus.
I have a story, too, that features this beautiful tree. The umbrella tree also gets a mention. In Orphaned Hearts, Simon Hartley buries his wife under the giant sycamore fig growing along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River at the bottom of their property. He also builds his daughter a treehouse for her fifth birthday where he plans for them to watch the African sunsets together. Many scenes in Orphaned Hearts take place in or close to this tree. It is my prayer that from the tops of this sycamore fig, readers, too, will be able to see Jesus.
He pulled his gaze away and focused on the waters ahead. In the distance, mist from the falls turned the sky a lighter shade of blue. This was fitting. Chloe had loved this spot. She’d sit here in the shade beneath the giant sycamore fig for hours reading, pausing between pages to listen to the faint roar of the Victoria Falls. Often she’d set her book aside and gaze down the river, marveling at the haze that rose from where the falls plunged to the ravine below. “Heaven on earth,” she’d said.
Will his past, or her future, keep their hearts orphaned?
When his wife dies in childbirth, Zambian conservationist Simon Hartley pours his life into raising his daughter and his orphan elephants. He has no time, or desire, to fall in love again. Or so he thinks.
Wanting to escape English society and postpone an arranged marriage, Lady Abigail Chadwick heads to Africa for a year to teach the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage. Upon her arrival she is left stranded at Livingstone airport…until a reluctant Simon comes to her rescue.
Now only fears born of his loss, and secrets of the life she’s tried to leave behind, can stonewall their romance, budding in the heart of Africa.
Other Titles by Marion Ueckermann
PASSPORT TO ROMANCE
Helsinki Sunrise (2014)
Oslo Overtures (2015)
Glasgow Grace (2016)
Follow the tour tomorrow:
Thursday 16th ~ Box Sets – Inside and Out
MARION UECKERMANN’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven.
Marion loves writing Contemporary Inspirational Romances set in novel places and has three Passport to Romance novellas published and contracted through White Rose Publishing, a Pelican Book Group imprint: her debut novella, Helsinki Sunrise; Oslo Overtures (August 2015); and Glasgow Grace (2016).
She lives in Pretoria East, South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.