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Lesson Transcript

Beneath The Fig Tree
A few months ago, I started cleaning out an old fig tree in my backyard.
It had become overgrown with jasmine vines and poison ivy during the thirty years that my husband's grandparents lived here, and it was struggling to survive. Dressed for battle in a long-sleeve, button down shirt, overalls tucked into socks, work boots, and heavy leather gloves, I began work on the outside, snipping and hacking away with my pruning shears.
After about an hour, I had a pile of vines waist high and as big around as the tree itself, but it seemed that I had made almost no progress. Frustrated, I sat down to have a glass of water. The tangled mess of branches and opportunistic plants stared me down. I closed my eyes and tilted my head to the sun in defiance.
An old memory came into my mind of sunlight filtering its way through leaves. I was ten, and I was sitting beneath a mammoth fig tree in a friend's backyard. She was twelve and on the swim team with me. We were eating the just ripened fruit, cross-legged in our bathing suits, waiting for her mom to finish with the dishes so we could go to practice. We were laughing about something I can't remember now.
I remember that moment under that tree as a moment of respite, a small instance of absolute peace in the half-wild garden of my consciousness. I smile, finish the last of my water, and get back to work.

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 Beneath The Fig Tree

 A few months ago, I started cleaning out an old fig tree in my backyard.
It had become overgrown with jasmine vines and poison ivy during the thirty years that my husband's grandparents lived here, and it was struggling to survive. Dressed for battle in a long-sleeve, button down shirt, overalls tucked into socks, work boots, and heavy leather gloves, I began work on the outside, snipping and hacking away with my pruning shears.

After about an hour, I had a pile of vines waist high and as big around as the tree itself, but it seemed that I had made almost no progress. Frustrated, I sat down to have a glass of water. The tangled mess of branches and opportunistic plants stared me down. I closed my eyes and tilted my head to the sun in defiance.

An old memory came into my mind of sunlight filtering its way through leaves. I was ten, and I was sitting beneath a mammoth fig tree in a friend's backyard. She was twelve and on the swim team with me. We were eating the just ripened fruit, cross-legged in our bathing suits, waiting for her mom to finish with the dishes so we could go to practice. We were laughing about something I can't remember now.

I remember that moment under that tree as a moment of respite, a small instance of absolute peace in the half-wild garden of my consciousness. I smile, finish the last of my water, and get back to work.