Don't ever think that because it has no leaves that a tree might be dead.
The 50-foot cassias have been dropping leaves like mad - swirling eddies on the front porch like fish in a current. Branches getting nakeder and nakeder. Wondering whether their roots are deep enough to last this dry season.
The birds flutter in and out of the jungle gym of branches.
But look closer now - and eyes grown accustomed to brown branch and dying leaves spot something pink. Here on this twig, and then there on those. Is this apple blossom pink? Some may say cerise. Others fuchsia. Tiny pink buds, delicate as a baby's pout, and florets much smaller than poui or immortelle, are emerging in regular spaces where the leaves have fallen.
The Appleblossom Cassias - from seeds brought out of the forest by a forester who identified a magnificent tree that must surely have special genes - are getting ready to bloom, after six years in this rocky hillside in a vale of Santa Cruz.
The dry season has its moments after all.