The Sweetness of Figs

By Lisa Reily

July 9, 2018

The Sweetness of Figs

I am at home here like I have not been anywhere else in my life. Home in the heat of dripping fig trees, their treacle tears that drop-by-drop onto the dry ground, the sour smell of wine in the air. I love the lime-colored grapes that dangle in miniature bunches from the vines in our yard, the tortoise who eyes me each morning as he munches the leaves on our fence. I am weak for the wobble of his crepey neck as he eats, and wonder why I cannot love my own. 

I love the trees I do not recognize. Is this a pear, or an almond tree? I pick mint and basil, oregano and rosemary. I learn the names in Greek and even dry herbs for tea. I marvel at how I ever used a peppermint tea bag. I make jam from 'mousmoula' and figs, pour fruity concoctions over Greek yogurt, relish the sweetness of the homegrown tomatoes and olive oil gifted from our kindly neighbors. I curse the sun and float on the salty sea, its layers of lime and blue, a harmonious mix of warm, hot and icy cold. 

My enthusiasm abounds as I pack tahini and cucumber sandwiches, homemade ice-blocks and a bright summer umbrella. I love our walks to the empty beach, just before the heat wave, and later, the horde of Greek families who appear as soon as the sun becomes unbearable. 

I had thought I would feel lonely, away from everyone.

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