I own all the content and pictures on this site, except where noted. If you steal anything from me, and
especially if you do anything mean or inappropriate with them, I will find you. Then I'll sue you for
theft, slander, libel and any other law that applies. Then I'll ridicule you in humiliating ways
here and everywhere else I contribute to. If you fuck with me, I'll get get all Gladiator on your ass
and unleash hell. Think I'm kidding? So did my a couple of my exes, my old neighbors, as well as
some assholes who ripped me off on Ebay, and last I heard, they were all still trying to undo the
damage I caused.
I see from the corner of my eye something shimmery at my shoulder. Turning, I see the shimmer move and multiply.
My hair lately is all but coated in mango sap. Discovering random sap beads throughout the day is a constant reminder that this time of the year, I am a slave to my mango tree.
She is the centerpiece of my yard, a tree that's (at the very least) 25 years old, large, sturdy, with branches reaching up and out, way out. Her shade is perfect for the hammock, and many are the days, afternoons and evenings I've spent lying there, staring through her leaves and savoring the breeze. Sometimes, my son joins me and we cuddle, talking about the tree, the sky, mangoes, and anything else that crosses our minds.
I love this tree. I love her for how beautiful she is, for the fruit she bears (my favorite), for that shade that's a godsend during the hot, stifling summer.
I am indeed its slave now, spending my mornings and early evenings picking up the fallen fruit, checking and rechecking her from every angle to see if any mango needs to be picked so that it doesn't fall and is ruined while I'm away. If I'm not quick enough at doing the daily rounds, the ones highest up may fall and smash too much to be saved, or worse, they fall and the snails and beetles get to them before I do. The tree is big enough that the fruit falls over a wide surface, about half the yard, and so it takes some time to carefully comb through the grass and underbrush to make sure I haven't missed any.
The mangoes this year are perfect, round and meaty and so sweet and juicy it brings tears to my eyes to eat them. The sap is plentiful and sticky, beaded on the fruits when I pick them off the ground or flowing, flowing, when I pick them off the tree, and sticking to my fingers, the pick-up bucket, my hair. And, as if to make up for last year's terrible crop, it's borne such an abundance of fruit that it's overwhelming.
I say that in both the bad and good way. This week it's felt impossible to keep up with the tree, my stove, kitchen counter and fridge crammed with mangoes so that nothing fits anywhere, and I can see I have another two or three weeks to go (and I'm in week three right now), but at the same time, it's beautiful. It's beautiful to look at the tree, to contemplate its power, to feel those perfect mangoes in my hands and know the joy they contain.
Emily Vogel posted at 6/02/2011 12:30 AM
I love the saying "If you have to buy mangoes in South Florida, you have no friends". Mangoes always remind me of the beginning of summer...you captured it all so perfectly!