When Olives Grow

The olives are blossoming, or do I write blooming, or just plain growing. Still too small and green to pick, but there. Just as it has grown too hot, and the grass has withered bare and burnt straw yellow, the fruits are emerging, red pomegranates, loquats, and my olives. I am sure I am yet to capture more trees in flower, and then fruit. I have a friend who has a blueberry bush, yes even in the Middle Eastern hot climate, which is a feast of blueberries.

And underneath my small, delightful fruit joys, is a grief of how easy it is to destroy a tree, how in the Ukraine the trees are being decimated like the buildings, streets, schools, people. The children there are graduating in the ruins of ‘once there was a school here’. The Russians are handing out passports in Kherson and Melitopol, and what chance do the trees have to fruit over freshly dug graves where people are buried in their boxers? In war there is no time to sew shrouds.

Where are the passports to a quiet life of picking fruit? What fruit do they even have in the Ukraine? Lots of berries, the national fruit is cherries. I find a link, it tells me they often plant small vegetable gardens, mothers like to feed their children nutritious homemade food. They do what all people surviving do, like my grandmother did in the Pardes Hannah refugee tent camp: plant vegetables, harvest what you can, pickle and preserve vegetables and fruits for the uncertain future.

This link contains a Ukrainian recipe for pickled cucumbers. My children love pickles. If we could all live for the love of pickles, what a simpler world would it be? I will make these pickles. I will feed my children compassion, awareness for suffering across the border. I still do not know how it is, that I love the new, fragile small olives on the tree, that there is such joy in something growing, when so much is destroyed.