Orange Gold on Green Grass

photography by Susa Silvermarie

I live in a wild place of twenty towering mango trees. Six of them are lined up along the drive right before the gate. The rest are interspersed on the grounds, and along the rest of the drive, seemingly at random. It is said these trees are 100-200 years old. There is a mango tree in India that is 300 years old and is still producing fruit—that’s 295 seasons of fruit — so it may well be true that our local specimens are ancient. My arms do not reach even halfway around most of the trunks of the mango trees here. Their large leathery leaves are evergreen. And their crowns are at least a hundred feet high in the sky.

And here’s some context, so that you can visualize the setting of these mango trees. The park-like Commons area where I live, sits in the middle of a circular gravel drive that runs around the back of 25 unpretentious brick units. By the pool there are four gigantic rubber trees, and a miniature arched bridge, and banana trees amidst lovely gardens including a mermaid sculpture, a St. Francis statue, and assorted small stone carvings of creatures too age-worn to be identified. A wonderfully unmodern and concrete-less condo, complete with Friday happy hour gatherings under the tree canopy. Here in Mexico between the shore of Lake Chapala and the Sierra San Juan Cosola Mountains, the Commons area setting of the mango trees is green all year round.

Back to the mango trees themselves. I am humbled and honored to live among these beautiful living beings that give so much, not just to me, but to the whole planet. Their carbon uptake is tremendous, and so is their oxygen release. And when their laden branches bow under the weight of so much fruit, as they do now in May, the trees play sporadic bass. After the first week or so, their percussion of fruit thumping down from high branches to the ground becomes background to those of us who live here.

The acoustics become taken for granted, but the visuals, never. Orange gold on green grass In the morning. I collect what the squirrels and tlacuaches (the primitive-looking marsupial called an opossum in the US) have not found first. I walk along holding the bottom of my t-shirt into an apron and piling the dropped mangos in. And that easily fills my woven basket on the kitchen counter to the brim. Every day!

I have learned that the fruit offers its own wealth to the world. Vitamin A and C, magnesium and potassium, fiber for digestive assistance, and antioxidants, as well as support for eye health and lowering of cholesterol. It is said that eating mangos counters the toxins of the day. All that benefit is extra, bonus to the sweet juicy and extravagant taste when you sink your teeth into a peeled mango.

It’s messy. You can watch youtube and figure out your preferred method of cutting one open, starting out on a clean kitchen counter. But no matter how you start, eating a fresh mango becomes an experience of childlike abandon! And oh my yes, sticky exuberance! A thrill that borders on addiction. A healthy satisfaction of very earthy desires.

Even if you have to get your mango on from purchase at a fruit counter, you can still give thanks for the magnificent trees on planet earth called mango. You can imagine the tree that the taste on your tongue came from. You can make an invisible little bow of gratitude. And you can surrender all adult propriety and enjoy the hell out of that juice dripping off your fingers and making your mouth one, delicious, sticky, marvelous mess. Blessed Be.

3 Responses to “Orange Gold on Green Grass

  • MMmmm! I like how each mango hangs on its own, long stem. A beautiful memory from Coconut Grove. How wonderful to live among them!

  • I buy mangoes one at a time, at high prices…Such abundance, your bowlful takes my breath away! Thanks for sharing all the mango information too.

  • Barb Ester
    1 year ago

    Delicious Delightful… bringing my memories back from my many years in South Florida and learning to know Mangos… gathering under the magnificent trees, I hear your DELIGHT! I can taste them now! Thank you!

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