On my mother in laws farm out in the countryside from Sinagra in the hamlet of Contrada Melia there is a fig tree whose branches are weighed down with an abundant harvest.
In the summer Sicilian’s become like frugivorous animals living off the fruit and vegetable that are the products of their garden and the countryside. So my husband, son and I were obliged to take a walk to the fig tree to gather its bountifulness.
The only problem is the tree is hidden deep blow a steep precipice hidden behind overgrown bushes and prickly vines. So a simple walk to a fig tree became a trek through the Sicilian undergrowth.
According to my son’s fruitful imagination we were deep in the jungle. In reality we were making a path through the steep, rocky and abandoned countryside. I was imagining twisted ankles, ripped clothes and thorns.
After literally cutting a path through the brier bushes we were rewarded by a pleasant walk through the shade of overgrown hazelnut trees in a pathway well hidden from the still burning afternoon sun littered with small berries that Matty loves to eat.
When we finally reached the fig tree we received the most indulgent reward, an elaborate tree filled with lush mature fruit.
There is something viscerally satisfying about eating fresh fruit from the tree. Picking the most succulent figs the white sap bleeds onto your hands and the fig seems to split open by itself as you place it up to your mouth.
While slurping up my first fig of the summer I remember how renaissance Italian poets used the image of the fig as an erotic metaphor for female genitalia. Even today in the Italian vernacular a sensually attractive woman is a ‘bella figa’. This gives eating a fig a provocative quality.
Who would have thought biting into a fig could be so kinky?