by Mariah Machado, 09/07/21
Passionfruit, what does it mean to you? To me, it is fresh, soft, tasty memories from my childhood. Growing up on a coffee farm gave me this feeling of freedom and adventure that keeps pushing me into the world, into the unknown, into this wild life. I couldn’t have had a better childhood.
Barefoot, simple outfit, unbrushed hair. And not trying to be a character, but this is how I feel more comfortable and really being myself, and it is my happy place. My grandparents, my cousins, and a few employers. That was it. I would look to that huge place and would feel like the world was too big, but I felt like I could explore every single corner. A place to be me, just be. Nothing to think about, no one to impress, no space to try to fit in.
Just beside one of the windows, we had this beautiful passionfruit tree. There were not many treats allowed at that time, so dessert would need to be passionfruit with a bit of sugar in it. It was more like a ritual, picking the passionfruit, cutting it in half, giving it a sprinkle of sugar and enjoying it. It was always a thing to do together. A time to sit on the grass and get to enjoy each other’s faces, depending on how bitter the passionfruit was.
When I decided to have a garden at my house, I instantly thought about having 3 plants: passionfruit, white roses, and bougainvillea. Guess what? They are all from my grandparents’ farm. I first got a passionfruit, and it was doing so well, growing fast and strong. Six months later I needed to move out and go to another place. I just couldn’t leave my passionfruit behind. As much as I’m a detached person, there was too much implied in that plant. So, I had decided to take the passionfruit with me, as much as it was a little bit big at the time, I took it all wrapped up on a piece of wood fence, placed it in my new garden and hoped that it would go well.
Plants don’t like to be moved. When they have their roots deep down in the earth, they have found their place. Just like us, having such deep roots can make us believe that changes are not good. It’s a very fine line in between keeping your solid roots alive to give you guidance but going your own way or just being stuck in the same beliefs your whole life. My passionfruit was suffering; it had lost most of its leaves, and was looking incredibly sad, dry and very close to dying. And then I thought: “it’s not gonna make it, it was a brutal change and it not gonna survive. Tomorrow I will pull it out.” Just like life is perfect even if we can’t see it or understand it, I woke up the next morning and all of the sudden I had a passionfruit flower hanging there, stunningly beautiful, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’m pretty good at getting the omens, and this was a very clear one. I could hear the wind blowing in my ears “be patient, give life the time and it will bloom.”
I got a passionfruit tree to help to keep my best memories alive. To never forget how life was always about the people you love and the places which makes you feel who you really are. Even for me a detached human being, it would remind me to keep my roots strong, which doesn’t necessarily mean in the same place but helping me to go through all the changes that I have been doing in my life.
Even knowing that I will not to be able to have a life in my grandparents’ farm anymore, because life has its own path, I made my way to have that place and those people close to me. There’s not even one day that I will look at my passionfruit flowers and fruits and will not remember the experiences that made me who I’m now. No doubt that had run barefoot in between coffee trees and fruit trees with my cousins, making stories up, pretending that we could be anywhere and be whatever we wanted to be, made me believe that I could go anywhere and do anything. Lessons that I will bring with me forever. Even if I need to plant a new passionfruit every place I go, just to never forget what really matters in life.