The Season of Figs and Spiders

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It never ceases to amaze me how many modern urban folk don't use this simple fact. Having this compass makes finding your way, even in large cities, so much easier. Obviously then you know which way is north and south, and so ....

Another simple marker, this of time , not space, are the insects and fruits that match the seasons phases. Its really quite possible for even city folk, certainly suburban folk, to grow not just vegetables, but fruits, to plant, Johnny Appleseed style, a variety of useful fruit trees in their own backyards. Talk about locally grown.

San Diego, half city half suburb, is blessed with the kind of salubrious Mediterranean climate in which nearly anything, including certain species of apples, will grow. What's beautiful is to connect the fruits to the season. Early spring is loquats and citrus, early summer blueberries and apricot. Now the green and purple figs are in fruit; there is an old house vacant down the block, whose owners, residents since 1962, just moved out, so aside from the crows and other scavengers, I have these succulent sweets to myself.

But be careful in the evening, because mid-August is when the large red spiders (sorry spider specialists, don't know the species) spin their webs from the top's of phone poles and eaves all the way down to the bottoms of trees, easy to walk into and end up with a mouthful of web. These fascinating creatures grow larger and larger as time goes by, so that by the end of September some will be as large as a four year old's hand. Fascinating is that they take their web back in each morning when the sun comes up. The crickets are in vogue now, too, and finally with the onset of heat, the flies. But in the spring the grasshoppers were in bloom, and various species of butterfly and moth seem to have their own time.

And then there are the birds, that sing in the spring and fly away in the fall. But that's another story, except to say how instructive it has been to observe the narcotic night song of the mockingbird from early spring, transform into the obnoxious screech used to protect its young in midsummer....

copyright eyton j. shalom, august 2010, all rights reserved, use with permission

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego