I learn something every day. Kind of impossible not to, unless you’re living with your head stuck in the sand. And some of the things I learn are fascinating to me primarily because they shake up one of my long-held beliefs, or paradigms.

The other day at one of my writers’ groups, a casual remark caught my attention. Referring to a story being critiqued, one of the men said, “There are no ancient palms.”

I jotted the phrase down on my ever-present notepad without comment as the discussion continued. No ancient palms? What in the world was he talking about?

When I got home, I turned to my new best friend, Google (a magic website). I learned that with rare exception, most “urban” palm trees have a life span of 25 to 40 years, but there are streets in southern California where 75 to 100 year old trees are still hanging in there. But even “wild” palms almost never see there 140th birthday.

And since 140 tree years hardly qualifies as “ancient,” the guy giving critique was right, and there are no ancient palm trees. I’m sure the woman writing the story under discussion just deleted the word “ancient” and went on about her day.

I, of course, had to spend several hours reading, and now writing all about it. You can thank me later if you learned something new today. And for those who already knew this, why didn’t somebody tell me?!