Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Crew-Cut For The Vines

Here in Shiloh, Bible Land--Where It All Happened--a good portion of the flora is Biblical. Even in my pathetic garden I have an amazingly large olive tree and grape vines.

The olive tree doesn't demand much care. It was planted about twenty-seven years ago, even before we chose the land for our house.

But our grape vines are a bit more recent. They were probably planted about twenty years ago. The vines are supposed to be pruned every winter, while they look dark and dead.

I presume there's an art to it, but I try not to ask too many questions. It's not the type of job I can take over, and I don't want my gardener to up and leave.

When the work is done, when it's shorn of all the unnecessary branches, it does look like it has had a crew-cut.

I'll bli neder have to post about it throughout the spring and summer. Soon the first leaves will appear and then "miniature" clusters of grapes. It takes a couple of months after that for there to be any edible grapes and even longer for them to really sweeten.

Last year, for the first time ever, we had the most delicious grapes I have ever eaten in my life. For a couple of months we and neighbors enjoyed the most impressive supply imaginable.

Now most of the trees are still in their winter modes, like the grape vines. One of the others is the willow, which is used as one of the four species during the Succot holiday. There's much symbolism in the willow. Some say that the willow is like the Jewish People. In the winter it looks dead. And sometimes in our long, long history, it has looked like we, the Jewish People, were finished. But just like the willow tree comes back to life in the summer, massively full of leaves by the Succot fall Holiday, we the Jewish People also have renewed strength.

I guess you can say that about the grape vines, too. I'd say that the grape vines are even more like the Jewish People, because after we appear dead, cut down, shrunken, life returns to us. Not only does the grape vine in summer look impressive; the leaves can be eaten as food before the grapes are sweet and ripe. Extra grapes can be dried for future food. It's certainly a more valuable plant than a willow tree. And we the Jewish People really are more like the grape vine... in so many ways.


Maya / מיה said...

wow... you really make me want to have a yard of my own!

I remember the first time I was walking along the street here and I suddenly saw a ripe pomegranate hanging on a true... right before Rosh Hashana. So many traditions make so much more sense here!

Batya said...

The Biblical trees are all native to our Land. Many of my neighbors grow pomegrantes, etrogim, figs, dates etc.