things that never occured to me: oh, fig

 1. Winter Storm
We have two fig trees. Both planted, of course, by James. He tells me the one in back is the hardier variety. Out by the driveway is where he placed the one that needs a warmer climate. The pavement heat ("thermal mass" as he puts it), therefore, was thought to be good for it.

Last December James called me from Washington. "Will you put more leaves around some of the plants?" he asked. A cold snap was in the forecast, and treelings such as the figs needed whatever blanketing we could offer.

Dutifully, I brought around our small wheelbarrow with a load of maple leaves. These I distributed, tamping them gently with my boot. I sent pictures to James, and he said that looked good.

Sure enough, it snowed. The thermometer then showed a dip we rarely if ever see, to below zero.

The cold lasted a week. A February ice storm made us wonder further about those plants. We'd have to wait for spring to see if life remained.
2. Theological Flora

About a month into Orthodox Christianity, after I began to look seriously at what this ancient church teaches, I read about the fig tree Jesus cursed (here's the story). Though I knew this tale from childhood, I hadn't pondered the fact that a plant was the only living thing Christ physically walloped. No human received this scary benediction: "No one will ever interact with you again" (because you won't live beyond this morning!).

Why, I began to wonder, had I always just sort of behaved as if Jesus Christ went around smiting people? Why did I try so diligently to be in the "right" group, so I could, metaphorically at least, smite people?

3. Life Finds Its Way

The fig trees that this past winter smote are dead sticks now,

but that is if you only look at their upper portions. Yesterday I checked the one by the driveway. A week or so ago James pointed out the green bits coming up from its base, the life returning.

Both figs should become more like bushes than trees, and this will sustain their existences better, as they develop along the way of a branchier connectedness, protecting the core, the heart.