I love all things summer. There is so much to love about it; the heat, the long lingering days, and all things water related. I love swimming, kayaking, canoeing and sailing. I like the gritty feel of sand and sweat on my skin and the feel of the water splashing it away. And I love how I feel at the end of the long summer day. I like the peace I feel while I listen the the insects in the trees calling to the twilight and the setting sun at the end of the day. I really like how their raspy song blends with the voices of children and dogs barking as they play in the last light of the day as the sun sets and the night is preparing to fall.
I also absolutely love the flavors of summer. There are so many to choose from and they are all delicious. There are peaches, plums, watermelons, nectarines and figs. I especially like the figs. I remember picking them when I was a child. I dreaded the almost painful touch of the hot prickly leaves that were so itchy against my arms. But since I hated wearing long sleeves even more than the pain I chose to endure it.
The uninitiated may not understand what could possibly induce otherwise sane people to put themselves through such misery. The truth is that it is no one single thing that but combination of it all that makes the fig a special treat. There is the flavor of the first fig of the summer warm from the tree and later the cold sweet crispiness of the fruit that has been allowed to chill before it is served. The taste of the fruit brings back the memories of the jokes that were told, conversation and stories shared, and the pranks pulled while gathering the fruit. Later still, some of the fruit will be preserved for use later in the year. There is nothing like a homemade biscuit dripping with fig preserves on a winter morning.
Now it is fig picking time again and although I live in the city and have no tree of my own; I have determined that this year I will have figs! I have searched high and low for some lucky and generous soul willing to share or sell some of their figs to me. Today I found a co-worker who owns a fig tree. Imagine my horror when I discovered that not only does she not use her figs; her children throw them. "They throw them I?" I asked. "Yes, you know; they pick them and throw them on the ground and stomp on them she said." Upon hearing this I offered to pay the kids to pick buckets of figs for me but my friend refused. No, don't pay them! What do they need with money? I will tell them to pick them for you and I will bring them to you next week. It will give them something to do. Hopefully soon I will have more figs than I know what to do with.