The two fig trees at Healing Ground are still bearing fruit to the great delight of the critters who seem to beat the two legged humans to the harvest every time. This recent race to reap the bounty is all the more frustrating as I notice that some of my favorite local fare restauranteurs have concocted delectable offerings highlighting the season’s harvest of figs: a goat cheese, fig and caramelized onion pizza, sweet potatoes with fresh figs and honey, and for the meat eaters lamb chops with herbs and roasted figs. There’s something very tantalizing and exotic about these dishes despite the abundance of fig trees around the piedmont. Take the figs out of any of the aforementioned recipes and somehow it just isn’t as appetizing or the flavor as noteworthy. Perhaps the attraction is because ripe figs are so fragile and hard to transport and store, or maybe it’s because they never cease to surprise when the innocuous skin is pulled back to reveal the beautiful, succulent fruit.
Actually, though, I must correct myself. A fig is not a fruit at all, but a flower inverted into itself or as D.H. Lawrence penned, “folded upon itself, and secret unutterable.” Their pull, then, may very well be that we have some unconscious identification with this edible mystery. Although an apparent plethora of attention seeking individuals on reality t.v. lead us to believe otherwise, many of us still spend our days expending effort to contain, rather than reveal, some portion of our glory. What unspoken and unnamed fear or reluctance has us hide our gifts, our talents, our shining beneath some camouflaged exterior designed to keep us from standing out, drawing attention, risking exposure? We occupy our allotted space, restrict ourselves to certain boundaries, hold close our secrets to avoid possible notoriety and live like genies trapped in a bottle of our own construction. This may avoid detection, stave off embarrassment, eliminate some risk of being what we despise, but at what cost? I wonder what ordinary events or lives might be transformed by our willingness to open up and display all we have to offer? Could it be that our season has arrived?