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望乡的树

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小编摘要:一棵小小的果树,置身于如此不宜生存的荒谬地带——气候即使算不上恶劣,对其健康生长也毫无益处——却能顽强地生存下来,凭借的似乎就是一波又一波不灭的希望。

In my father's backyard, in the heart of what used to be Little Italy but is fast becoming yet another enclave of Toronto yuppydom, there is a fig tree. As fig trees go, it is a scraggly little thing with a kind of forlorn theatricality that would make it a suitable stage piece for Beckett's Waiting for Godot. But when you consider that the species was not meant by its creator to live north of, say, the 35th parallel, its paltry appearance is a sign of its endurance, and like Beckett's tramps, the little tree seems to go on with a kind of hope-against-hope response to its absurd position in a climate that is, to put it mildly, hardly conducive to its health.

在父亲的后院里,有一棵无花果树。那一带过去被称作小意大利,但现在很快就成了多伦多雅皮士的又一领地,父亲的后院就在它的中心地带。说是无花果树,其实也就是一株枝叶凌乱的小树,给人以孤独凄凉的感觉,别具戏剧效果,特别适合用作贝克特的剧作《等待戈多》的舞台道具。但是,如果你了解到造物主在创造这一物种之时,并未打算让其生存在北纬35度以北,你就会明白它那不起眼的外表实则代表着内心的坚忍。和贝克特笔下的流浪汉一样,这棵小小的果树,置身于如此不宜生存的荒谬地带——气候即使算不上恶劣,对其健康生长也毫无益处——却能顽强地生存下来,凭借的似乎就是一波又一波不灭的希望。

 

无花果树

 

I like to think of it as a conscious display of the desire to survive against overwhelming odds, if only to reward my father's obsessive care, sustained by his soul's need to surround itself with a vestige from the Garden of Eden of his youth in the Calabrian hills.

我更喜欢把它看作是一种有意识的意志的展示,显示了与强大力量抗争的生存意志,哪怕这仅仅是为了回报我父亲无微不至的照顾。为了一解乡愁,父亲特意从家乡的卡拉布里亚山上—他青春的伊甸园里带来这株树,陪伴在自己身旁。

Brought here from Southern Italy as a young sapling, the fig tree, like its immigrant caretaker, survived the violent uprooting and thrives in its new home, a large wooden half-barrel, of the kind that is used by wine makers. To prevent its freezing to death, it has spent the past three winters buried under four inches of soil.

这棵无花果树被从意大利南方带到这里时,还是一棵幼苗,和那位照料它的移民一样,在遭受残酷的连根拔起的命运之后,它又活了下来,并在异乡的土地上开枝散叶。它的新家是半个大木桶,就是酿酒用的那种。为了防止冻死,过去三个冬天里,它都被深埋在四英寸的土壤中。

Shortly after Victoria Day my father unearthed it and within days, like the Phoenix of the storytellers, it was magically reborn, its leaves luxuriatingn in the northern sun; the Mediterranean homeland but a distant memory, an indelible genetic imprint. It's as though my father and the little tree have agreed upon an ecological covenant and both struggle to live up to its terms, practical concerns being merely secondary to the tree's great symbolic value as messenger across time and geography.

维多利亚节过后不久,父亲就将它从土里挖出,就像传说中的凤凰涅一样,几天后它就奇迹般地重生了,在北方的阳光下变得枝繁叶茂。远在地中海的家乡成了一个遥远的记忆,一个永远无法磨灭的基因印记。父亲和这棵小树之间似乎有一个生态约定,两者都按照约定的条款顽强地生活着。作为一棵树,它的实用价值已经不那么重要,重要的是作为跨越时间和地域的信使而具有的象征价值。

It's a tough bargain for the little tree to live up to, but it seems to have managed bravely for the past four years. This summer it bore an appropriately abundant crop of figs, about a baker's dozen. My father was thrilled and understands this to be nothing short of a renewable miraculous event; for him clear evidence of the providential bursting forth of the Great Chain of Being(my words, his reality).

对这棵小树来说,要信守这一约定实属不易,但在过去四年里,它似乎勇敢地挺了过来。今年夏天,它竟结出了不少的果实,大约有十二三个。父亲欣喜万分,认为这完全是一个奇迹,一个可以重复发生的奇迹。对他来说,这显然是上天对他的眷顾,是存在之巨链爆发的明证(这话是我说的,但对他却恰如其分)。

For his part, he tends to the tree's needs, checking the soil moisture, the lustre on its large three-pronged drooping leaves, turning each one over to check for parasites in a daily ritual that never fails to light up his whole face. In their silent dialogue, my father and his tree speak of a distant homeland, a world disrupted by large-scale emigration, a pre-industrial, agricultural time in which the movement of the sun and moon in the sky and the ebb and flow of the seasons set clear parameters for the life of the senses and the soul.

对父亲来说,他的任务就是照料这棵树。检查土壤湿度,查看它宽大、下垂的三瓣叶片的光泽,将每片叶子都翻过来检查寄生虫,都是他每天例行的工作。每当这样做时,他脸上都会泛起喜悦的神色。在他们无言的对话中,父亲和他的树谈论着遥远的故乡——那个因大规模移民而变得残缺不全的世界,那个工业革命前的农业时代。那时,人们的生息劳作、抒情感怀都还围绕着日出日落、月圆月缺和季节的交替而行。

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2011-07-20 10:19 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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