My fig tree is dead.
I've had this fig tree for twelve years, raising it from a 3-inch seedling that I mail-ordered from Park Seeds in (I'm pretty sure) 2002. I live and garden in the Boston area--not generally fig-growing latitude. Growing a fig tree in Eastern Massachusetts involves schlepping it into the basement each winter for six months of dormancy, a process generally accompanied by a loud and boisterous chorus of four-letter words. In November and again in April, it was officially known as the "$*!#@$-*&#^!!! fig." But by July, it looked like this, and we were all more kindly disposed:
I enjoyed major bragging rights from that fig. "Oh, yes," I would say to my fellow gardeners with modesty wholly (and no doubt obviously) feigned. "I do grow figs in Newton. I get maybe 50, 60 figs a year. They're delicious." And they were. They didn't all ripen -- it was always a race against the first frost come autumn, and invariably the final dozen or so figs would be frozen in an unripe and unpleasantly dessicated state on some cold October morning. But otherwise it was a pretty fabulous and problem-free plant. Squirrels, chipmunks and other vermin love to eat the other fruit I grow in very modest amounts in my little urban yard (blueberries, woodland strawberries, grapes. And worm-infested apples, which are perfect for making a uniquely high-protein form of apple crisp). But the figs baffled the varmints --not in their geographic frame of reference -- so they left them alone. As did the fungal diseases that plague many of the other plants in my overcrowded garden. The fig tree was pretty, healthy, and productive.
Until it up and died.
"My fig tree is dead," I told my friends Mark and Linda. "It's a metaphor!" they said.
Of COURSE it's a metaphor. But for what?
Your call, friends. For what is my fig tree a dead metaphor? All suggestions welcome -- see comment box below. And check back in over the next few days as I search for the answer.