in the waiting

I’ve been waiting, waiting for a sign, waiting for a saving grace, waiting for a moment. There are so many ways to wait.

When my mom and dad were young, before the three of us kids came into their lives, my dad coached football, sometimes long into the autumn evenings. Mom would sit there, in the big bay window overlooking the side yard and driveway, the train tracks and horizons of dried out corn stalks, and peel a pomegranate. Crimson red, aril by aril. She’d wait for him, for the headlights to shine over the 1900s farmhouse and his safe return.

The fig tree we planted in our backyard when I first got sick continues to struggle – bearing no fruit. I’m still waiting. I planted that tree with a vision in mind. The mutual relationship that certain wasps have with certain figs, a reliance on each other, a perfect synchronicity. When the figs need to be pollinated, they put an invitation in the air, a scent, and then they wait. The first of many female wasps comes in, crawls in the tiny hole of the bud, and spreads the pollen from where she was born to fertilize the figs. This mother wasps loses some of her wings and her antennae in the act of love and hope for the future. She couldn’t leave the fig now if she tried, so she lays her eggs in this fig. This is her last act before she dies. The wasps hatch and mate – the male wasps then die and females leave the bloom to go fertilize other figs. I’m waiting for these figs, so I can crack them open and see all the dozens of tiny flowers and know how they got to be here.

Last year, I shared a fig with a person from the Saami Indigenous community, from northern Sweden. Surely by now in that part of the hemisphere, the light is angling darker, while the figs here in northern California are coming into their own. The trees branches lolling with the blessing of fruit. The Saami have at least 8 seasons in their years. It’s autumn-summer for them now. Not quite summer and not quite autumn. I wonder what they are waiting for in this liminal time, the space in between for us all, the then and now.

The pomegranate, the figs, the fruits of a womb and of a death. Are they the sign I need? The saving grace? Is this the moment I’ve been waiting for?

A fig's 'decisive moment' - Aglaia's Table οn Kea Cyclades
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