In my town of Coconut Grove – an eclectic South Florida village and bohemian haven to local writers, artists, architects and musicians – summer harvest is in full swing. Virtually every house in The Grove is surrounded by lush tropical flora and fruit trees. Starfruit, sea grapes, lemons, oranges, avocados, mangoes, lychee, guava, coconuts, figs, and olives. As they ripen, the pungent smells fill the air. What abundance! And, how grateful we are that the daily spurts of tropical rain, followed by sunshine and steamy, hot air provide the perfect climate for growth.
Starfruit (“Carambola”) Tree
In this sustainable environment, not only does nature produce a rich bounty for individual households and all the outdoor creatures that inhabit the yards (birds, cats, possum, squirrels, frogs, lizards and geckos), it also encourages neighborliness. Just the other day, one of my neighbors dropped by with a bag full of mangoes from her tree. Everyone shares their harvest. It is not uncommon to see baskets of fruit set outside a front gate, with a sign saying “Please help yourself. Enjoy!”
My sea grape trees cascade over the front yard, providing shade for the sidewalk and part of the street. Hanging from the branches, the ripe grapes are a welcome treat to anyone strolling by. Blending (chameleon-like) with the large, green sea grape leaves, the mischievous parrots teeter precariously as they hop from branch to branch – tipsy from indulging in their very own bacchanalian feast. Their loud and gleeful squawking can be heard from one end of the street to the other. Their joy is infectious.
Just this morning, I stood smiling as I looked up at the parrots. My smile turned into a belly laugh when several grape pits pinged my forehead. I’m sure those naughty feathered creatures did it on purpose, but I didn’t mind. Not at all. I’m just deeply thankful that my trees are bearing fruit and that they are being savoured by animals and humans alike.
“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
― William Blake
Sea Grape Tree and Parrot (posing for the camera)