Right outside my home office window, there’s a fig tree full of figs starting to ripen. It’s a fun time every year because it’s a tremendous draw to birds — and squirrels and even deer who come up out of the woods. Does reach way up to leave the figs close to the ground for their fawns. We’ve had a scarlet tanager among other birds that don’t usually spend time in our backyard.
Sometime in the 1980’s, we had a very bad frost — down below 10 degrees fahrenheit — and the fig tree died. My husband cut off dead wood all the way down to the ground. We mourned it vigorously. It had been so much fun to sit on the screen porch watching the enormous leaves appear in the spring — you can see why they were fit for their purpose in art, then later watching the figs themselves start to form, then watching them start to turn brown and droop on their stalks, and then picking them for delivery to 3 families who love them and welcome our deliveries with excitement.
Now it has grown back taller than the house — squirrels leap on the top branches from our roof. It has also put down branches that have gotten rooted in the soil creating green ceilings close to the ground. Sometimes I look at it and think about how much I would have enjoyed it as a pretend house when I was a little girl. Maybe someday we’ll have grandchildren to hide down there in the green caves.
So there is a special pleasure in enjoying something that we know is vulnerable to loss, but has achieved such an astonishing comeback. We have all three types of savoring with it — anticipating growth and fruit every year and perhaps future pleasure of small children, experiencing the beautiful leaves and sharing the fruit with birds attracted right to the house, and remembering it gone and then coming back.