Our peach, plum, and apricot trees survived their second summer. The green of their leaves is battling it out with the encroaching brown, and the cutter moths have done some damage, but the trees have officially made it. They are growing, alive, and in a few weeks, they will thrive, insects and triple-digit temperatures at bay.
It rained last night, and I lay in bed thinking about the trees. How lovely the wind must have felt on their branches, the extra water seeping into the soil. We desert dwellers relished the rain too, but I was happy for the trees. Smiling in the darkness, happy for their momentary relief.
Living is tough. Pushing through when everything says you are in a desert that does not want you to thrive can disrupt even the strongest of roots.
And it’s not just the weather. Trees get used to the weather. Manage their resources, acclimate. But then they have to contend with things like… squirrels. At first, the two seem compatible. They are both a part of the natural world. They can and should co-exist, respectful of one another.
Last year our fig tree grew gorgeous and shading. At first, the squirrels rested under the coolness of the shade. They ate the ground cover that developed beneath the beauty of the fig tree. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe the tree thrived too much, was too happy, and drew too much attention to itself.
One day, the squirrels started gnawing at the fig trees bark.
We put up an enclosure to try and protect the tree, give it some distance, in the hope that the squirrels would respect the boundary. But, it must have just pissed them off. Maybe they felt like they were excluded or on the periphery. A week later, the squirrels got into the enclosure and gnawed at the fig tree until it fell over and died.
I felt terrible that there was nothing we could do to save it. The tree was defenseless against the unchecked squirrels.
Trees can’t defend themselves. They can’t say, “Hey, this isn’t right. Quit doing that.” Trees are part of a system, a family that is made up of many parts and even if those parts turn on them, all fig trees can do is wait around until something larger starts picking on the squirrels, or they get bored and move on to another grove.
Thank God, humans can say something before they are eaten alive.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Exhausted.