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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Why a cypress and a fig tree?

I look out my back window and spot the rusty fall foliage of our cypress tree. In line behind it, is a bare-branched fig tree. Earlier this spring, the fig was loaded with forming fruit. But a dry summer and birds stole my delicious harvest this year.

As I take in the sight, my curiosity is challenged. Although he never considered himself a gardener, both of these trees were planted, grown, and tended by my husband. Nothing else growing on our property ever got his attention.

Just for fun, I googled both the cypress and the fig, seeking their symbolism.

The cypress was associated with death and the underworld because it failed to regenerate
when cut back too severely. It is considered a symbol of mourning and in the modern era it remains the principal cemetery tree in both the Muslim world and Europe.

Among the oldest types of tree in the world, cypress trees date back over 150 million years. An interesting correlation, in many countries including China and Japan, cypress is one of the woods commonly used in coffin construction. Its wood is known to be water-resistant, strong and durable and is commonly used in boat-making even today, God commanded Noah, "So make yourself an ark of cypress wood” in Genesis 6:14.

The Biblical connection for the fig tree is even stronger. Adam and Eve used the leaves of the fig tree to sew garments for themselves when they realized that they were naked. Remember when Jesus cursed a fig tree in the New Testament? The fruit of
the fig-tree normally appears before the leaves. If the tree produced leaves it ought also to have had fruit. Was that the reason Jesus cursed it...because of no fruit?

I find it interesting that one tree figured in the beginning of life and the other connected with the end. I don't know what attracted my husband's interest to these two particular trees. Something I must remember to ask of him when we are re-united. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the pleasing sight and...maybe next year...some fruit.



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