My Dearest Figgy-Fiddle,

There you are, my venerable lady with varicose veins on your leaves. My living room hasn’t been the same since you arrived, perking it up with your stately presence and youthful glow. You keep reminding me that I’m only as old as I feel. I’ve had fun with that. It was only today that I told the doctor I was a well aged 40-year-old.

And I’m sorry about Cleo’s visit yesterday. You handled his tinkling in your pot with such grace, never dropping a leaf. From now on, cats aren’t welcome. It’ll just be you and me.

Love, Gertie


Growing up, I spent most of my summers at a children’s camp; initially as a camper and in later years, as a counselor. When I was fifteen, I was crowned the “Summer Princess” at the gala dance held the last week of camp. I was bestowed a lovely birch bark crown with a thin silver trim and a blue satin sash.

One of the competitions among the “Princess” finalists was to tell a story about trees. My rivals chose to speak about trees in general. I told the judges a story of a poplar tree my dad had planted in our back yard when I was little. He kept pruning it so eventually my brother and I could climb it. I would sit there and read, or dream. I was sad when we moved and we couldn’t take it with us.

The February 6, 2023 Carrot Ranch’s 99-word Flash Fiction Challenge was to write a story as a love letter to nature. For some reason, I was reminded of that night, long ago, when I’d spoken about my affection for this one tree, as opposed to a forest full of them. As a result, I created a spirited older lady named Gertrude, who ends up writing a love letter to the fiddle leaf fig tree growing in her living room.

For those unfamiliar with the fiddle leaf fig tree (ficus lyrate), it’s native to the tropical parts of West Africa. It has become a very popular indoor tree due to its very large, heavily veined and glossy violin-shaped leaves.

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