On my way to the beach at Livadia, Bob Marley was singing to me “Could you be loved?” and I was bouncing my head up and down like a dancing Topo Gigio. Of course I could be loved! But the minute I answered Bob and said “Yes,” my iPod lost its charge. Was this some kind of omen? Then I remembered the insistent ringing of the church bells that morning and how all the cafes along the seafront were full and realized it must be a holiday which meant that the beaches would be crowded which meant that it would be difficult to find an unoccupied tamarisk tree and enjoy the shelter of its shade. But luck was loving and had a tree waiting there just for me.
Tamarisks have exceeding long tap roots allowing them to go way down into the ground and exploit natural water resources. And this is probably the reason they are able to live so close to the salty sea. They are also able to absorb the night’s moisture. If you’re underneath a tamarisk during the morning, you will feel how extremely cool its shade is and, looking up, you will see shiny droplets of water on its skinny branches. By noon, the droplets will have evaporated away.
Tamarisks not only offer shade but they serve as windreakers, too. Unfortunately, they have the drawback of increasing the soil’s salinity and are invasive. But China is taking this latter negative characteristic and making it positive by using the tamarisk in their anti-desertificaton programs.
Tamarisks are mentioned in the Bible. For example, in Genesis 21:33, Abraham planted one in Beersheba and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. Some scholars believe that the sap from the tamarisk could be considered a kind of manna in that it’s waxy, sweet, aromatic and yellowishy like the manna described in the Bible. Manna or not, its sap is used to make nougat candies called gaz.
Bunny Manna, from BEBINA BUNNY future publication