I’m starting to hear voices from the trees again. When I heard it last year I was astonished, now I know it means something wonderful. It’s peach season!
Our area of Lesotho is thick with peach trees. You will find them planted around homes, schools, fields and high up on the hillside grazing areas, aggressive growers from discarded peach pits eaten or planted by herders in years past. Even our family pig enjoys life in the shade of a peach tree and the addition of peaches to its usual diet.
There are two major varieties of local peaches, Tae-pete are small yellow-white peaches which ripen in December & January and Motloha-Tholoana, larger sweeter peaches that ripen to reddish-yellow in February. Now that the February fruits are in full flush the trees seem to be talking almost everywhere, sending out happy greetings, “Lumela Mpho, u phela joang!” (Hi Mpho how are u?) , “…re teng le kae” (Hi, we’re fine how are you?) or most intriguingly speaking with each other, so quickly I can’t translate.
Hidden by thick foliage and fruit are the sources of these greetings, kids of all ages sitting in the trees eating and collecting peaches for consumption on the road and at home. Often you have to get up quite close to the trees to see them.
I have enjoyed tree greetings in the most remote locations, at the side of long trail up an isolated hillside, near schools and along the paved road to Maliba. The most fun is to talk at length with those who are hidden, rarely identified, happily engaged, leaving me with the absurd sense of having pleasant conversation with any number of trees, and a hand full of peaches to enjoy as I continue on my journey.