The Fifth World

Up the Banana Tree

By Giulianna Maria Lamanna

The shimmering drip-drip-drop of morning drizzle surrounded us, a gentle percussion on the high drums of the leaves. By the time the rain trickled down through canopy and understory all the way to the jungle floor, it had dispersed almost to fog. We did not feel individual raindrops on our skin any more than we heard individual raindrops hitting the leaves. Only whispers and mist reached the forest floor.

It felt a welcome respite from last night’s hammering. Fat raindrops had pounded the leaves that thatched our huts. A few roofs sprung leaks under the battering. Now we went in search of new leaves with which to repair them. But I couldn’t help but halt the search for just a moment, closing my eyes and digging my toes into the leaf litter and feeling the mist kiss my skin.

I thanked the canopy for taking the brunt of the rain’s force, and I hoped it appreciated the watering. My sister tugged on my arm, a gently teasing smile on her face, reminding me why we had come here.

I looked up the rough trunk of a banana tree. Normally we shimmied up these for the fruit. Today, though, we had a different target entirely: the wide, long leaves.

I wrapped my arms and legs around the trunk, inching my toes around in search of good footholds, and pulled myself up, up, up towards where the rain remained raindrops. I shook a low branch until I heard it crack and fall to my sister below. It probably held enough leaves to do the job.

The green-yellow of a bushel of nearly-ripe bananas caught my eye. While I found myself up here anyway…