Let’s just be honest and say that sometimes a word or two in the preacher’s sermon takes my mind far afield. This time the word was “fig.” In my defense, I will say I returned to listening before he got too far ahead of me, but I did enjoy thinking about my fig failure.
When we bought this house in Hattiesburg, I was thrilled that there was a fine fig tree – one trunk, lovely branches, and by midsummer – figs. Enough for me and the birds. I ate figs right off the tree and cooked some down for preserves with lemon slices. Then in 2005, Hurricane Katrina happened.
The fig tree withstood the violence common to the right quadrant of the hurricane. The same could not be said for several large trees in the neighbor’s yard. After Katrina, Hattiesburgers lived under the “we’re all in the same boat” philosophy, and the only route for those cleaning up the fallen trees next door was across that fig tree. Fig season was over for the year, so those figs were not lost. The first logs pulled across our yard took the tree out. The subsequent ones pulled and tugged at any leftover roots. I assumed the fig tree had failed, and I would see no more.
Spring 2006 came and along with it, little shoots of figs. Within a couple of years, the fig was larger than ever with multiple trunks and a huge canopy. I counted ten trunks and have a crown larger than I can get in one shot with my camera. This year, I feasted on figs off the tree and cooked a bunch down into preserves before the birds and varmints discovered them and cut me off. Now, if I could just teach them to share and take the top half of the tree and leave me the bottom where I can reach.