When I look back at my earliest memories as a child I remember mulberries and pomegranates.
What a wondrous gift to be born to a family who simply loved and celebrated plants. My dad is a biology major and I grew up with a scope in my hand looking at insect larva, eggs that were freshly laid on leaves, stamens and pistils in flowers, or whatever else he would show me. I’m so thankful for that.
My paternal grandparents loved plants, too. My grandfather and grandmother would hold me in their arms as they showed me all the plants they grew in their gardens…images fill my mind with hibiscus, begonias, pecan trees, fruit trees, potted herbs, and much more. My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago. I have one of the last hibiscus cuttings he made in full bloom on the front page of my blog and the hibiscus lives on in my garden.
However, It’s not often I remember my maternal grandmother, and tonight, my memories are awakened of her. Grandma passed when I was only 8 – some 28 years ago.
When I was 3 or so years old, I remember climbing up her rather large mulberry tree with my cousin Lin. We would laugh and giggle and simply eat our weight in mulberries! One afternoon, as my mother and aunts visited in chairs around the tree, I climbed down to get some of the grapefruit my mom was peeling. She gave me a segment of grapefruit and I did what I always did as a child….I dug into the segment to grab the tiny pulp, held it between my fingers, and then held it up to my aunt’s face and said “fishy fishy!”
Obviously, I didn’t have all my words developed just yet but I remember getting extreme joy from showing her the shiny juicy pulp shaped like a whale or “fish”. I remember my aunt laughing and encouraging me – what a magical moment. I then remember running back up the mulberry tree, which had nailed in boards on the trunk for easy climbing, and sharing more time with my dear cousin Lin.
What a joyous childhood. Life was simple. Life was outdoors and filled with fresh smells and tastes of our plant friends.
When we got tired of the mulberry tree, my cousins and I would run circles around the pomegranate tree in my Grandma's front lawn. I remember getting my hands on a pomegranate and peeling it open for the first time – staring at the jeweled bright red fruit – it was simply fanciful! To taste that fruit opened my senses for sure! It felt magical and special – there is something very special about pomegranates. To this day, I celebrate this memory and this regal fruit by incorporating it in some way during the holidays.
Certainly, my maternal grandmother loved plants – she didn’t have much money but she certainly knew the importance of plants and the garden. I didn’t get to know her very well, as she passed so young….but she left behind generations imprinted with her love and her love of plants.
I think it’s amazing how early in our childhood most of us connect to the earth in a deep and wondrous way. We love our mother earth…the insects…the animals…the plants….ourselves and our family.
Somewhere along the way, some of us get lost. We forget mother earth…we forget the beautiful animals and plants as we work to make a living. Sometimes, it’s good to let go and re-connect…connect back to our roots. The roots of our ancestors and the roots of our earth….