Food from the Sky
After moving to Florida, my family started joking that avocados were the “zucchini of the South.” Up north, at a certain time of year, people’s gardens produce so many zucchinis they have a hard time finding homes for all of them.
As it turns out, avocados are only one of the luscious treats that literally fall from the sky here in Florida. We also have loquats, mangos, coconuts, carambola, and papaya.
Just the other day I ate a papaya that I grew myself. In my front yard is a papaya tree laden with fruit. When we first moved here a little over a year ago, a neighbor gave me a small papaya tree – just a stick to put in the ground, really. I made my daughter’s boyfriend dig the hole for it. I didn’t expect much.
Now I see what a gift a fruit tree really is. The tree has grown tall and is producing shade, fruit, and admiration from the neighbors.
I actually didn’t have the courage to eat the fruit myself. I am trained to only eat things that come from stores. My friend was happy to try one of my papaya for breakfast. When it didn’t kill her, I decided it was worth a shot.
I am sure there was a time in history when most people had the experience of eating something we grew with our own hands. Now, this is a rare thing for many of us.
The sense of satisfaction and connection to the great cycle of life that comes from eating food directly from the tree is immense.
Here in Florida, we have corrupt politicians and crazy news stories. We also have food that grows year round in our yards. Living in Florida can be a struggle in some ways. There are things, like papaya trees, that seem to make it worthwhile.