this sappodilla tree was planted by my Nani (mother’s mother) about 40 years ago. that makes it about as old as me. Nani died in 1986, ten days after the photo above was taken, but the sappodilla tree she planted remains, still bearing bountifully. the fruit is small small but sweet sweet. it’s one of my favorite fruits; not least of all because i’m also small, brown skinned, and sweet- when i want to be (heh). in fact, my father nicknamed me sappy when i was a child..
today i climbed nani’s tree and picked over a hundred sappodillas; leaving hundreds more still to be harvested.the branches are slender and swayed underfoot. i reached for the sweetness i desired, hoping not to crash to the ground. rain had fallen earlier and the leaves shook droplets into my eyes. the sap gummed up my hair and hands. but there were no followmes nesting, so happily, i got no stings and didn’t have to abort picking and jump down hastily- as on previous memorable occasions.
some people- men mostly- say that women shouldn’t climb trees; that the trees will stop bearing. this is sheer stupidness and you can go ahead and tell dem people i seh so- even (and maybe especially) if they are your family members/loved ones. a laaang suck teeth in these circumstances is also warranted.
there is an art to picking sappodillas. ideally, you’re supposed to wait until the little spike on the base falls off, then harvest. but the high winds and breeze had been blowing plenty off the tree and the birds, bats, and other critters have been feasting- as the skins and remnants on the ground attest to. so, to ensure that we humans got our share, i decided to climb and pick some to ‘set’ a couple days in a closed, newspaper-lined container.
it’s tricky tho- fruit that, from the ground look large, shrink when viewed up close. i have to make a calculation between taking a chance and leaving them on the tree to get a little more size, but possibly losing them to the birds etc, or playing it safe and picking them smaller. it’s a tough decision- small and sure vs bigger but possibly bird bitten.. the greedy gambler must come to terms with the fact that no matter how much something is loved and wanted, one creature simply cannot consume all. so i pick some and leave some for the birds, bats, and other critters. 🙂 pachamama provides for us all, sharing is caring, and harmonious living is possible.
i wash and parcel and then spend long minutes cleaning my skin of the sap. half dozen of the already ripe ones satisfy my soul. when i was younger and more foolish, i used to use a knife to cut the fruit and a spoon to scoop and eat. now that i’m older and wiser, i use my thumb to split the soft brown skin and just suck. sometimes i even eat the skin.
tomorrow, i will transplant the seedling that’s growing in front of the old pit latrine. i won’t have any descendants but hopefully the trees i plant today will feed some creature(s) some day.
thank you, nani. #sweetmemories