On a cool summer morning in the western suburb of the Twin Cities. Taking my dog for our daily walk; the air was fresh and clean; the birds were chirping; the houses are enveloping by massive green trees. The neighborhood was quiet before trash trucks roared in, the lawnmowers had not launched their assault on our hearing, and True Green service had not waged its chemical warfare on the green! The dog was full of energy and joy, looking forward to a new sniffing experience on each corner.
On the narrow street, the dog suddenly stopped and seemed confused, looking at a black blanket of berries covering the street sidewalk under a small tree extended its branches from my neighbor’s backyard and unlike the neighborhood trees, this one bearing fruits! Lots of it, much to my surprise, it was Mulberries (tout) tree, my childhood tree that grew up accustomed to on the bank of the river in my village Meet Swaid, on the Egyptian delta. As Kids, we played around it, climbed it, farmers and animals took refuge under it from the summer heat. The Mulberry tree was generous, and village kids not just eating its sweet fruits berries, before TicTok and Facebook, we used their leaves for feeding silkworm we raised at homes, a summer pastime amazing hobby. The silkworms become a currency for exchange where we can barter and share. The silkworms munched on the hand-picked fresh Mulberry leaves for 20-25 days, then start weaving their silk threads around themselves, building their colorful private cocoons, a constant hard work that takes around 48 hours to build. Each worm stays inside the cocoon for 10-14 days; then turns into moths/butterflies that finally oozed out of the cocoons giving us a live demonstration of Darwin evolution theory in a few weeks. The Mulberry trees prefer hot weather, and dry soil doesn’t need much care. My small village was known for its wild Mulberry trees, which invited intruders from the village across the river “Meet Fars”. Nobody owns the mulberry trees, they are wild, and they are for everyone to share; whoever can climb it can enjoy its fresh berries while shake the high branches for the rest on the ground to share; all you needed is to say “Hiz” shake it, then the mulberries would fall on the ground as sweet hails. The berries come in different colors and types, blacks, whites, and radish berries. Waking up early in the morning before others arrive for the berries hunt, putting a tarp under the tree for a harvesting feast, is the best time where the early bird gets the berries.
The male mulberry tree is called” elDekar”” which means simply; the male does not grow fruits, usually bigger with big trunk and branches providing a great place for people and animals to rest under its shadow.. The Mulberries don’t get enough respect in America; The berries fruits are neglected, ignored, and abandoned in the street not far from the trunk. Not sure of the American negative attitude toward the Mulberries trees, but it may be the fact that the Mulberries trees came to America from China. There is no advocates groups for Mulberries trees, or #MulberriyToo movement to march to stop the mulberries abuse. Americans don’t eat Mulberries fruits; avoid them at any cost, keep their kids away from them; for them, they are messy, sticky and the stain is permanent. I stopped by my neighbor’s house the next day, and I told her about my mulberry tree childhood love story, asked if she would mind me having a few berries on my morning walks. “Please help yourself, I have no idea how it ended up in my backyard,” she mussed with a smile. Now I have the mulberry tree all for myself, where I stop by every morning tasting its sweet fruits which bring lots of sweet memories. Mulberry fruits are nutritional, rich in fiber. Lots of vitamins C , K, and rich in Iron, high in protein, calcium, magnesium, and mineral. A 2017 study it shows that it helps kill breast cancer cells and lower our bad (LSL) cholesterol and full of antioxidants that protect our bodies from stress, much-needed natural remedies for post-pandemic blues. Have you hugged your mulberry trees today?
Host/Producer of Arab American TV shoe BelAhdan TV
Blogs at Notes From America
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Lives in Minnetonka, MN