The Sharing of Pomegranates

One pain a la Suzanne. (Or Sister Bread. Or Jim Lahey’s No Knead Dough with 1/3 cup sour starter–it was sooooo good!)

Mixed: 9:15 pm Monday night

Folded: noon Tuesday

Molded: 12:20 pm

Baked: 2:30 pm

Split with The Pomegranate Lady

There’s this tree along a closed road here in Santa Barbara. I’m not telling which road–pomegranates are serious business with me. So, there’s this tree, the most lovely, inviting, fruit-bearing pomegranate tree I’ve ever tumbled across. And if you know me, I’ve tumbled across many a punica granatum. I hunt them out. I track them down. And I sit, and admire the red fruit from the car; it’s the thing that most tempts me toward thievery.

Every couple of years I get a phone call from my friend (who also adores pomegranates). She says, “The Pomegranate Lady called, Jane, and invited us to pick!”  This fruit picking day is one of the highlights of my life.

So, I loaded my kids into the car and met my friend and her three youngest along the roadside where the tree sits. We were greeted by Mary herself, who apologized for not having more fruit. Said this was a lean year. I looked at her tree. There were still more than a dozen juicy red pomegranates dangling from the branches. I looked in the bag. At least a dozen or more there. Oh, yes, lean years from full grown, mature trees, were just fine with me.

As I was about to drive away with my bag and kids bundled into the Volvo, dreaming of pomegranate jam and pomegranate syrup and fresh pomegranate seeds, I noticed the tempting smell of warm bread coming from the back of the car. My pain a la Suzanne had been forgotten in the midst of our picking (and the kids climbing the tree, and throwing Pooh sticks into the slow-moving river.) I had never thought of fresh bread as a good tool for bartering, but today I was relieved that I had something to give in thanks to this very generous woman.

And as I placed the loaf of fresh bread on the porch for Mary to find later, I thought of my own pomegranate tree, which is still just a babe, but will someday tumble into the roadside like Mary’s. And I wondered, when it’s big, if I’ll invite others over and allow them to drive away with bags of my prized fruit. I hope so, I pray so. I’d almost be an Indian-giver if I didn’t…

And what about you, I’d love to hear stories of your neighbors who share… Avocados? Zucchinis? Walnuts? Firewood or compost? What sort of neighborly give-and-take happens in your neck of the woods?

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3 thoughts on “The Sharing of Pomegranates

  1. Dear Jane — First let me thank you for your wonderful blog; Molly Sabourin commented on it a few weeks ago, and I’ve been reading it ever since. I love the reflections inspired by and made around a life of giving.
    I have been blessed with extraordinary neighbors. We moved here two years ago, and have been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful they all are. Most are older, empty-nesters and grandparents, and as such have adopted us to satisfy their grandparently needs while their own children and grandchildren are not around.
    One of my neighbors a few houses down has an amazing rose garden — astoundingly beautiful! When we moved, I left my own rose garden — of about 15 bushes — behind, and I have yet to start another here (too busy having babies to make gardens). One day when I was admiring his plants, he invited me to come and cut as many roses as I would like for my home. He said, there would still be plenty. When June came and his garden was in its full glory of hundreds of blooms, I did — what gorgeous blossoms! My home was blessed with their beauty, their scent, and his generosity!

    • Emily–thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story! What a wonder…all those flowers. How your house must have been bursting with the scent of the rose…

      In Colorado, we used to live in a neighborhood that held many elderly. We were constantly being blessed by them. I pray I can grow old that way, and be a wrinkled, yet beyond-skin-deep beautiful influence on those around me.

      Wonderful to have you here 🙂

  2. Our neighbor directly behind us keeps birds. All sorts of birds. Occasionally, he will let some of his doves free. We have multiple bird feeders and water features on our property. The doves usually stay. Over the years he has blessed us with these beautiful creatures and their soothing cooing. It truly is a joy the see them and hear them. That is a wonderful gift!

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