My husband, Joe, and I own the private road alongside the easterly edge of our property and the trees growing beside it. There’s several oaks and one old fig tree adjacent our driveway. For years, the fig tree has remained fruitful and last week tender shoots emerged for yet another season. Then, the neighbor’s ranch-hand chopped it down without our permission or knowledge. All that remains is a stump and a few suckers that he staked after Joe had chewed him out.
I had a deep affinity for the old fig tree. It provided habitat for wildlife and served as a reminder of earlier days when we moved here with our two young sons, J.J. and Jason, and Shelby their Labrador puppy. Now the fig tree is gone.
Like a grieving widow, I’m concerned I’ll soon forget the physical details of the multiple-branched structure, rough hairy foliage, and the droop of ripe white figs. In time, gone too will be the deep sentiments that rushed to mind when I drove past the fig tree.
When I looked at it, I thought of Shelby and the fallen figs. Although Shelby is gone, memories of her returned each spring when the tropical looking leaves clothed naked branches and later when fruit formed.
I would walk with Shelby to the fig tree so she could enjoy nature’s sweet treats. Labradors are known for their big appetites and Shelby was no exception. If I didn’t walk her to the tree, she’d head out on her own. During fruit-bearing season, I could always find Shelby beneath the wide-spreading branches.
Standing there watching her scarf down the fruit, I’d think about picking enough to make jam. Now, I’m glad I didn’t. The taste and smell of fig jam would have added to the loss of an old fruit tree that provided shelter, food, and branches suited for songbirds, and raising young.
I thought my fig tree would live forever. Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre