I have a lot of fruit trees on my little, suburban lot. It’s a postage stamp lot, and packed in as tight as can be are six citrus trees, two pomegranates, two pears, two plums, two peaches, a jujube, three grapevines, a barbados cherry, two olive trees, a loquat, an elderberry, passionfruit vines, blackberries, raspberry… Let me think. I think that’s most of them. Papayas come and go, as well as other annual fruits and vegetables, and I love to draw bees and butterflies with flowers and herbs, but when I think of my garden, the first thing I think about is the lemon tree next to my front door that blooms in the spring and hands me hundreds of golden jewels in the dark days of winter.
I think about the astonishing bloom of the passion vines, which have yet to produce edible fruit but should, and the bird nest hidden deep in my orange tree. I think about the fig tree, that rambling beast eager to consume all available landspace, and beating her back into her corner. I think about the season of the fruit trees, where I prune in the spring, where I watch the flowers and leaves break through the bark in a burst of life right when I am most thoroughly weary of even our mild winter, down in south Texas, to the long season of fruiting, and then harvest, and then sleep.
I think about how every day I go into my yard and without much effort encounter a butterfly or wild bee, there. I think about how many fantasy novels are written and read by people who don’t take even a moment to think about what the weather and landscape mean to available food. In some ways, the conspicuous absence when I read fantasy is found in the way food is grown, harvested, prepared.