Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Figs

My Father and the Figtree


By Naomi Shihab Nye



For other fruits, my father was indifferent.

He’d point at the cherry trees and say,

“See those? I wish they were figs.”

In the evening he sat by my beds

weaving folktales like vivid little scarves.

They always involved a figtree.

Even when it didn’t fit, he’d stick it in.

Once Joha was walking down the road

and he saw a fig tree.

Or, he tied his camel to a fig tree and went to sleep.

Or, later when they caught and arrested him,

his pockets were full of figs.



At age six I ate a dried fig and shrugged.

“That’s not what I’m talking about! he said,

“I’m talking about a fig straight from the earth—

gift of Allah!—on a branch so heavy

it touches the ground.

I’m talking about picking the largest, fattest, sweetest fig

in the world and putting it in my mouth.”

(Here he’d stop and close his eyes.)



Years passed, we lived in many houses,

none had figtrees.

We had lima beans, zucchini, parsley, beets.

“Plant one!” my mother said.

but my father never did.

He tended garden half-heartedly, forgot to water,

let the okra get too big.

“What a dreamer he is. Look how many

things he starts and doesn’t finish.”



The last time he moved, I got a phone call,

My father, in Arabic, chanting a song

I’d never heard. “What’s that?”

He took me out back to the new yard.

There, in the middle of Dallas, Texas,

a tree with the largest, fattest,

sweetest fig in the world.

“It’s a fig tree song!” he said,

plucking his fruits like ripe tokens,

emblems, assurance

of a world that was always his own.



Fig Jam   1/3 cup red wine vingear 1T red wine 1/4 cup honey 1/3 cup raisins 2t ginger, fresh or candied   Simmer until syrupy   Add 2 cups chopped fresh figs 1/2 t mustard seeds 3 cloves 1t Balsamic vingear   cook until soft.   Can-- 10 minutes in steam canner or boiling water bath   Eat with cheese on bread all winter  

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