Looking for a Tree…

Last night, on the phone, Mom and I were doubting the forecast of a heatwave this weekend, while it was foggy and cold in San Francisco, not much warmer in the south bay.

We woke up to a beautiful hot day! It was in the high 80’s but it feels like 90’s in San Francisco. The lemon tree’s flowers fragrance suddenly turned super strong in the heat. Almost overwhelmed by it while standing on the balcony enjoying the, rare, morning heat.

Loved the hot and dry sunlight in the farmer’s market just now, I was looking for a fig tree that i could plant in the back yard. Maybe it was not yet the right season, we saw some baby olive trees for sale instead.

In the 80’s there was a Taiwan writer – San Mao, whose work was very popular in mainland China, largely due to her exotic bohemian life style. She traveled widely, wrote essays and songs beautified bourgeois aspect of her life. She and her Spanish deep sea diving engineer husband lived in the Western Sahara, then later the Canary Islands.

Before her collection of travel essays hit China, a song called “The Olive Tree” was a big hit.

Ask me not where I am from. My hometown is far away
Why do I wander, wandered so far away, wandering
For the free flight birds in the sky, for the gentle brook in the mountains,
For the vast grassland, I wandered wandered so far away
Oh, also for the olive tree in my dreams, olive tree

Ask me not where I am from, my hometown is far far away
Why do i wander, wandered so far away,
For the olive tree in my dream, Olive Tree…

For a whole generation of youth who grew up with that song, olive tree turned into a symbol of the beauty and mystery of a faraway land.

2004, when we were traveling in Turkey, we saw the olive groves blanketed dry hot hills along Turkey’s Aegean shores. “Olive tree?! This is it?!” ZM was thoroughly disappointed.

For the longest time after our trip, i often pointed out the olive trees lined Haight-Ashbury in our then neighborhood just to wait for ZM’s expression turned bitter, ‘Not good looking at all!’ (一点都不好看)

I on the other hand think the unique look of olive tree was not that bad. As time gone by, ZM seems to have softened his dislike of it. Today, looking at the baby olive trees for sale, we were debating whether we should consider an olive tree instead of a fig. “How long will it take to bear fruits? Maybe we could get one if it would bear fruits in a couple of years.” ZM said. “Why? You don’t even like olives.” I was surprised.

Just checked on-line, turned out an olive tree could bear fruits in 4 years. As i just announced that fact to ZM, he seemed to be very interested.

I still want a fig tree.

After reading Fig hunting in Napa by pastry chef Shuna fish Lydon, i’m dying to get a fig tree.
Figs in Coastal Southern California

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