Of all the trees that are out there - spontaneous trees, forest trees and fruit trees - the fig tree is the one that I hold dearest. It's been a troubled tree ever since we we've known it: a big old tree, it has lost several limbs to winter winds and heavy snowfalls over the years, and since we moved here, it's been battling against an aggressive invasive ivy with huge, strong vines, that each year threatens to suffocate it (and that I've unsuccessfully tried to eradicate).
Yet each year since that first day when we took our two-year-old boy and his six-month-old baby brother to live in their new home away from the city, its broad, green leaves have given us shade from the hot summer sun. And each year, it's given us its sweet, sticky fruits to eat.
We harvested the figs last week, me holding the basket and the former six-month-old baby reaching and climbing up - because, as I explained to him, there is a reason why chubby baby boys grow into lean fourteen-year-olds six inches taller than their mother: to pick figs from high branches for their mamma.