23 August, 2009

Bird droppings.

I shouldn't be annoyed but I am, because it has happened again. And I saw them, gliding in wide circles, coming in on the sunset. These crows remember, it would seem. Actually, I'm not entirely certain whether they are crows, ravens, or jackdaws but they certainly are corvid in character and form. I think I should know my enemy better, as he certainly knows my biggest fig tree quite well.

And herein lies the problem. They arrive in a great flock, wheeling above the landscape, with the insouciance of those who know they are its true owners. They remember this particular tree, and when its fruit ripens. Figs ripen several at a time on the tree, rather than all at once, shifting from a light green to a pregnant purple. For three years now, I have been unable to see that final state of ripeness, as the sweetest fruit are swiftly plucked, one by one. As the tree is set at some distance from the house, I don't even get the masochistic pleasure of catching them in the act. It had been a lovely end-of-summer holiday pleasure (please take note of the past tense used), picking basketsful of those turgid fruit to be converted into thick, vanilla-inflected jam. And here we are, school will begin in some ten days, and I've nary a fig to show for it.

It makes me think of my mother with sympathy, her anger over my childhood pet monkey snatching the finest of the ripe mangoes from the pile she'd painstakingly collected. She'd managed to make a sort of long fruit hook, with a little basket attached, so that the fruit could be yanked from the tree, slip into the bag, and gathered, unbruised. But that was one monkey adversary, and very many mangoes.

These figs and I are hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned. We haven't a chance.

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