Planting a Little Bit of Home
When I was a kid, growing up in Alabama, my father planted and worked hard to grow a fig bush. I thought it was really dumb – figs did not thrive in winter temperatures that got as cold as we typically did, and nobody in the family liked eating figs. So why grow them? Now, I think I understand a little better.
This week, we planted a magnolia tree at my home. Those large, waxy leaves and huge white flowers say “home” to me with an elegant and refined accent. I’m looking forward to helping the tree establish itself and watching it grow and spread over our back lawn. There are few, if any, trees that represent the south to me more than the magnolia. Every time I look at that tree, I will think of my childhood home and smile.
My father grew up in a very small town in eastern North Carolina – where figs do grow and thrive. I now understand that he was planting a little bit of his childhood home, just as I did this week.
I understand better, but I also recall that nobody in the family liked figs. Every year, when we got a late frost that froze the fig’s blossoms, I secretly was pleased that we would, again, have no figs. There must have been some other plant that represented North Carolina to him, which could have been celebrated by the family.
I’m looking forward to a time, perhaps five or ten years into the future, when my family gathers under the spreading limbs of our magnolia. We will all celebrate its beauty and its shade – and I will celebrate its link to my past.