Three months ago, just before I moved into the new house, we had a barbeque here. Outside, next to the quail, with 40 years of fig tree towering above us. It was filled with small green figs. I picked one the sticky milk, scratchy little hairs and above all the scent of fresh fig tree transported me to long summer afternoons on the Highveld.
We had two fig trees in our garden, three actually. An ancient tree, probably planted by the ancestors on the small irrigation gully that ran through the garden, was well past it's prime by the time I started noticing trees. The other two were planted later, when I was young, to catch the overflow from the dam. One rewarded us with sweet figs every year, the other grew faster, taller, with large leaves but very few fruit. Finding another tree, half a world away, was a good sign, it made me feel at home.
Two men came this morning, with saws and ropes and tools, and removed it. I fled the house to avoid the trauma. By the time I returned there was a tree-shaped hole in the garden. Lots of new sunlight. But still a hole. And it smelled of fig everywhere.