Sunday, June 1, 2008

Couldn't give a fig

Sick, again. Al had tonsilitis last weekend and into the beginning of the week; I held on until Friday and am now wallowing in unspecified illness. How is it that no-one has splashed a red cross above our door?

I wandered out into the sun in the back garden yesterday afternoon, to indulge in a little morose drifting about. And there, in the far corner, next to the compost bins, on its small and sorely neglected tree, I came across the last remaining fig. It has escaped the birds, the kids, and the frosts, and was perfectly, sweetly, sexily ripe; purple and pink and pale, pale green; an unexpected gift hanging off the elegant bare branches. Normally, I share my finds with the girls, to encourage them to see the garden as a place of promise and deliciousness, but not when it comes to figs. No-one loves figs as much as I do, and these are my selfish delight, the one bit of garden produce I keep all for myself.

When I first moved down here, I lived in a small terrace house that backed onto a lane. (For the local readers: on Balfour St, the first terrace next to the Sporties hotel.) Two houses down, the yard was filled with massive fig trees, with branches that hung over the fence. When the fig season came I would wander down each morning, collect an armful of ripe fruit and then sit on my deck under the banksia rose and grape vines and gobble the goodies in the cool morning air. Even after we moved, I would sometimes take a walk past the fence at an appropriate time of year and renew my acquaintance with those generous trees.

Driving past the lane the other day, I noticed the trees have been heavily pruned so that there can be no more sharing with the neighbours. Even though the branches will no doubt grow back, and even though I hadn't visited for a couple of years, I felt that one of my special places had been irrevocably altered, and I was washed, inexplicably, in a subtle yearning for those lonely, confusing and fig-filled days.


Ingrid said...

That´s what it is like for me when I go back to see all my old favorite places. I have changed and they have as well. In my mind things stay the same but in reality, everything changes. I tell my husband that 'this is how things are in Australia' then we go and things are different. It is a loss that you genuinely feels.

I´m studying Applied Linguistics. I guess as future job opportunities as I can´t write the language will be as an English teacher. But I started learning as it is something I hope to help me girls with, learning more about how I can benefit them with their bi-linguality. Plus, I think if I didn´t study I would have got caught up with small village politics and ended up losing myself and being miserable.

I think I have learnt that with all the differences around, I have to give my girls at home the extra they require. We don´t want our girls to be isolated in the village as they will most probably stay connected here (my husband was born in this house). The standard of education at the school is extremely poor. And it is the little things like not recognising other cultures within the community (there were 4 Turkish children at the kindergarten, yet the children become pork sausages at festivals, only Catholic festivals are celebrated and children go to the Catholic church as a norm and they are xpected to go along). Or even the values that foreigners are the source of problem within the community..... I can´t take them out of this but I can teach them that these attitudes are negative. Lets see what happens.

PS. So jealous. I dream of a fig tree as I love figs so much. There are some things you just can´t take from Australia with you.

DevComm said...

I was washed, inexplicably, in a subtle yearning for those lonely, confusing and fig-filled days.

Beautiful. Your weblog is a great study in memory.

Sometimes images from home just spring into my head, often places I used to walk years and years ago, like on my way to and from school, or the park near the house I grew up in. I can't easily remember the names of a lot of the daily roads I travelled five years ago, but I have these solid snapshots of places I haven't seen in 15 or more. There's always some kind of emotion that goes with it, but it's like you say: subtle, inexplicable and sometimes lonely.

Adrian Cooke said...

(Sorry for the ambiguous name on the comment above! I was logged in with a work account.)

Janine said...

I remember that terrace house, the fig tree, and the 'lonely, confusing and fig-filled days' you experienced. Strangely, I recall that every time I visited you there it was ALWAYS sunny and warm.

Nostalgia is such a bittersweet feeling, isn't it? I really enjoy the feeling of joy combined with loss that I experience when I revisit my past.


Kez said...

Glad you enjoyed your fig! Hope you're all well again soon..

Daisy said...

Two houses ago I met the fig tree and her fruits, we made love and she gave me a baby in the for of a cutting. Our baby is still with me and still small but this year she too gave me just one fruit which took me back to the day I met the fig for the first time.
Haven't been reading blogs lately so tonite I caught up. Kids still do wear daggy clothes-just ask them in 20 years time when they too look back on their photos!
I am so happy for you that you will get more time at home. Jealous, yes, as i am so to return to work, only casual but I will have to increase my commitment over the next two years :(
If only I could find the ultimate stay at home job or just win 1st div in tattslotto!

radical mama said...

I can just imagine those trees hanging over the fence!

I noticed yesterday that I have my first ripe strawberries. I know I have to share, but I really don't want to!

Rach said...

Sorry to hear that you are ill again. I dream of a long period of wellness for all out families. I want a 'boring' blog with posts of nothing but wellness...