A tree lies down.

I had the chance to help a good friend the other day. As busy as our life has become, it’s nice to find the time to help others out. And so, on this unseasonably warm November day, Fionn and I helped Deb lay the fig tree down for the winter. It’s quite a process. Now, it should be said that we arrived late to the hibernation party, and one of two fig trees was already slumbering sweetly for the long Utica winter.

Are you asking what this process is all about? I will tell it to you, best I can. Fig trees grow well in CNY. They bear good fruit, but it’s the winter that they can’t handle. In native fig climes, the winters aren’t so harsh. But here, the tree needs to be protected from the deep winters we know and love. So, you dig it up. And you lay it down, prostrate to the ground. You cover it with leaves and earth, and you bid it adieu until the next spring. It really is a somber event, the last of the season’s chores. The garden is turned; its bounty has been canned, preserved, put up. The storm windows are put on, the leaves are raked. The beans have been shelled, and the wood is split and stacked for the long winter. But before the ground freezes hard, the time for the fig tree’s burial remains. And make no mistake; this is not a one person job.

Which brings me to tree number two. This is a special tree. The old fig tree from Elizabeth Street. It’s the tree that has spanned a few generations. From the grandfather of a friend of a friend. Confused? No matter. All you need to know is that this tree is special to someone. More than one someone. And this is its first year to slumber in its new home. Same city, different streets. Same process, different hands. This year, I will help Deb lay down her second fig tree, and put to rest a long hard summer. And next spring, in Utica, perhaps the boy and I will visit again, to raise it up and set the roots for a wet spring, a hot summer, and a bountiful autumn full of figs, and friends.

keep it local – Tim.