An Ode to the Journey of the Mango

Claire Darrow - India


June 6, 2018




In the sunrise of April, I hold you before me, a product of a subtropical breeze, nutritious soil, and water that nourished from inside out. I have been waiting for you and I know the journey has not been an easy one. As I look at your skin adorned with swaths of deep coral, leafy green, and an orange that would make the sun jealous, it can be easy to overlook the journey filled with people and things that got you where you needed to be. 
In the beginning you were just a seed, no bigger than a five rupee coin but with enough potential energy to light up Pune at night. You had heard rumors of how scary changing shapes and locations would be but you also recalled that growing pains were necessary but worthwhile. You chose to be guided by the latter as you were tossed into the ground, covered with dirt, and had trouble breathing for a while. Just when you thought you couldn’t continue another day without seeing your beloved sun, someone came along to water you and quench your thirst. Even if they couldn’t come everyday, a new someone or something would come along to help you along the way, introducing you to new ideas, and encouraging you to keep growing.
After a while you adjusted to the sights, smells, and sensations that come along with living on the other side of the Earth. You befriended yourself and the things you once considered “different.” You became comfortable with being uncomfortable because you recognized that nothing good ever comes from staying in the same place. This continued for a period of time, each day similar but never the same. Some days were stormy and made you shiver and doubt yourself and the process. You saw things you didn’t necessarily want to see these days. Other days were as bright and hopeful as the flowers painted on the walls of the library at school and made you remember to always look for the good. There was always a sense of paradoxically calm entropy that made growing exciting.
And then one day, you emerged. While you had the same makeup, you emerged with a drastically different combination and perspective. You stretched your leaves toward the sun you so dearly missed and saw that all around, other mangos were stretching up and out on their own journeys. This connectedness exhilarated you and the light helped you realize that there is always something new to discover even if you think you have seen it all.  
You endured the tests and earned your colors-your coral, green, and orange. You traveled on rickety rickshaw rides and inside crates on crowded trains. It has taken a village of people and a world of resources to get you to this point. I know you wouldn’t trade the sweltering heat and the deafening noises that made it hard to grow and think. I know you wouldn’t trade the long days and even longer nights of glancing up towards the horizon wondering if any of this was worth it. And I know you wouldn’t trade the snaggle tooth smile that you sometimes won after teaching a grammar lesson or from offering an apple on the street. All of this has made the journey worth it-all of the growing and the growing pains.
In an odd way, you cant wait for when the cold knife meets your surface, revealing more layers than you even realized. You’re not scared, for you’ve been through the storm and the heat and the rain. You delight in possibility and are motivated by the pursuit of a more empathetic self and world. It’s mango season and I’m ready to show the world what I’ve got.

Claire Darrow