There was a fig tree growing in someone's backyard, long before the flood of 1998. Small, wooden houses existed precariously, only few feet from the creek. I imagine the fig tree was planted decades ago. At it's trunk are a few old bricks, buried deep, the sort of thing you find among potted plants at homes belonging to grandmothers.
That morning I left the house in search of a fig tree. I thought I would be driving around all morning looking at old neighborhoods, enjoying the stories the front porches would whisper to me as I drove by. It did not take me long to find it. The tree was calling me and I drove straight to it as if I had always known where it was.
The figs did not turn brown when they ripened, they stayed green but became soft when ready. I approached the tree with a gluttonous energy, ready to pick all I could, being completely greedy. Instead, I stood before it and thought, this tree saw people die that night, in the flood. It had been under water together with everything else displaced and destroyed that stormy night. Now it stood on a lot with a sign that read FEMA Buyout Property.
I picked a fig and it was sweet, made me swoon. I picked another for Jacob because we both love this fruit. Then I picked three more. When I got home I found myself with a moral dilemma. Was it really okay to pick the fruit from this tree? It seemed wrong. It was then suggested by those I shared this with that it would be a dishonor, to the people who lived in the home that once stood there, to let the fruit go rancid on the limbs. Rather, be grateful and give thought to those who planted the tree. So I did.