Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fig in winter

I bought the fig in 2007, from a stall at the Union Square Farmer's Market. The fig had no name. I repotted it that July from its little plastic container into this fiberglass pot made by Capital Garden Products, and I must root prune it again, as I did last year, if I want it to remain in its current residence.

I, too, must be root pruned if I am to remain in my  current residence. It is not big, and one's ideas keep growing.

The fig overwintered on the barbecue. Or braai. The thing in which fire is made.

Last night, walking in DUMBO, beside the silent East River at low tide, we saw the space station pass overhead, crossing high above the Manhattan Bridge, north-northeast like a fat, unwinking star. The last time we saw it, pursued by the shuttle, was in the Eastern Free State, above our green grass camp site and rugged red cliffs. Both times it seemed miraculous and beautiful.

And I think, We have no business being on this planet.

In an exasperated mood (phone calls can do that), I needed to walk in the cold, sub-freezing evening, out from the apartment, towards the Promenade, the park at Pier One, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, which is being repaired to the tune of 5 million dollars, to the park between the bridges, where I pick June berries in summer, then into DUMBO, the massive feet of the Manhattan Bridge dominating the cobble stones, the yellow lights of night reiterating that I love this city in the dark, and on towards Vinegar Hill, where my nose was leading me, for a drink and then supper: canneloni stuffed with lamb, fennel and currants, bitching waitresses back of house, a silky chicken liver mousse, my husband opposite me, smiling as he did in dreams.

Funny life.

Summer will come, with figs, and abundance, and humidity and inevitabilities. Perhaps it is the point before change, that is the most testing.

On the walk back to Cobble Hill, a mardi gras band played in the black street, icicles hanging from doorways, the musicians in coats and mittens, the music raucous underneath the roar of the overhead subway, passing into Manhattan on the tracks high above DUMBO.


  1. Transitions are difficult, especially so when your heart is tugged back and forth across so much distance.

  2. Winter for me is such a time for deep introspection. In this post your heart seems to be pulled away in so many different directions...

  3. What a lovely description of how life feels just now. Thank you.

  4. So you don't wrap the fig tree outside. When I lived in Astoria, there was a large fig tree in the front yard and my landlord would wrap it in burlap every winter. I hope you do a post on root pruning when you prune your fig roots. How neat that you saw the space station. Must be quite a sight.

  5. I'm sure you're still suffering from continent separation.

    So ready for spring. You missed snow when you were away, no?

    Sometimes snow is better as a fond memory.

    xo jane

  6. Sjoe Marie,
    All sorts of emotions. A feeling of discombobulation. I felt like that when I was pregnant.

  7. Sterkte, Marie. Ken daai gevoel. En somehow werk alles gewoonlik steeds uit, ne? One just can't figure out this life.

  8. I was just talking to a friend last night on Skype who reminded me that this time of the year always takes her by surprise, no matter how well she remembers it to be difficult and weird.

    Sending you hot pots of delicious tea and plates of lovely cookies, for when you return from your arctic walks.


  9. Early in January I watched a distant, unwinking light cross the sky and wondered...I thought it one of the many pieces of observational hardware, but never thought of the space station. Would it have been traversing then?

  10. Comforting to hear its not only me, then. Thanks for posting that.

  11. Thank you, everyone. Blogs are 80% editing of one's life, so many gaps are left, with the mood still leaking out. I'm also glad it's not just me. And Petro, no I'm not pregnant! Maybe just as well if this gets magnified.

    I shall ramble on.

  12. Beautiful piece of writing. I'm still smiling, but with a knot somewhere. Oh well. Summer will indeed come.

    I disagree with one small thing, though: we do have unfinished business here. It's called love. Serious stuff, it appears. Dies hard. Kind of spreads, too, when you seed it. The planet, without us loving it, would be no more than a rock, hot lava in the middle and on the outside a bunch of bacterias and viruses and other larger living things that struggle to survive by eating one another. In other words, hell. We might be able to destroy it, but we are also the only ones capable of loving our planet. Go figure.

  13. i'm new to gardening but i assumed that you would need to bring everything indoors or they would be dead and wouldn't come back, especially in containers. You just turned my world upside down.

  14. Beence, I understand the romance of it, I do. I mean, look at what I love in life: flowers, food, stories. But to be brutal, what good is our love, really? It has not made the planet better. It has only, rarely, prevented it from becoming worse. To be alive and to love is an experience, because we are conscious animals, but it is a self indulgent one, ours alone. The pleasure we experience between birth and death is simply our distraction from more prevalent pain, and the inevitability of death.

    Wanna go on a picnic? :-)

    Hi Me! Haha, yep, I aim to upend :-) It totally depends on the plants. Every plant has a hardiness level, and each part of the country has a hardiness zone. Good catalogues, nurseries and the Web will tell you how hardy a plant is, say, to Zone 7. Anything below that zone and it is too cold in winter for that plant to survive outside. So if you choose plants for your zone, you should be OK.


Comments left 4 days or later after a post's publish-date will be moderated (purely for spam control). Please be patient, you will be seen!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...