My Father is a Tree

It is a journey through time, a return to my origins, to my land, to Puglia.

By Lidia Antonacci

That’s why oil, vegetables in oil, pâté, semolina and pasta are born here, where the chain opens and closes. My luxuriant countryside in the heart of the Tavoliere delle Puglie.

…Here I am, sitting between the two fig trees in my countryside in the shade of their majestic foliage right at the point where they meet in an intricate embrace, to say the least. Embrace…..

Yes, today I want to reflect on this very gesture, on the importance of hugging, because nature teaches us that certain expressions of the body are sometimes denied, but that does not mean we should forget how good they are. Hugging triggers a state of mind as pleasant as a gift and there are many ways to do it. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was captivated by this reflection right here between my two fig trees.

It is a very common habit to plant this type of tree in our countryside, but in my case I smile to think that they are positioned right on the edge of the young olive grove. Four hundred peranzana saplings planted by me eight years ago, as if to watch over them and guard them in silence.

The sinuosity of their trunk, the soft movement of the branches, the smooth but wrinkled bark marked by time. The sweet, maternal scent sends me back into the arms of the two female figures who have represented so much in my family and in my life. Two women as different as they are united, a unique and warm voice.

I haven’t found the wooden stick with the curved end that my mother and aunt used to carry in their car to lower the branches of the fig tree and pick the fruit. Fig wood is very delicate, it likes to be touched and you can’t walk on it but it is very, very elastic.

On this beautiful sunny day, I enjoy the embrace of the foliage on my head, filled with the reassuring affection that only a mother can give, and in silence I wait for the twenty-ninth of June, St Peter’s Day, when the fruit of the fig trees will be ripe and ready to be picked. Sweet flowers to be enjoyed like fruit.

Did you know that the fig is not the fruit of the tree but its flower?