Sunday, July 27, 2014

Are All Mangos Purple?

A dull, tired feeling has been clouding my thoughts lately. What used to bring me pleasure is not so any longer. Running, cookies, life in general has been feeling more tedious than it should. I am not sure if it's the heat (very likely as I live in South Florida which is truly unbearable during the summer) or something else. I am not sure if it’s normal, hormonal or what.

Even if I don't feel like it, I push myself to run most every morning. The alarm goes off and while my family cuddles under the cool vibrations of the AC, I fumble sleepily with my sneaks.

It was looping back home at the end of a 5 miler when I saw it, the biggest, most purple mango tree I had ever seen in my life. It was heavy with bright fruit, hanging low. It was pure delight.

“Wow”, I thought, “If I had a purple mango tree like that in my backyard, all my problems would be insignificant.”

My inner conscious retorts: “What problems? You don't have any real problems, and if you did, I doubt a purple mango tree would make you feel better about them.” One's conscious should always keep it real.

When I got back home, I shared the purple mango discovery with my husband. He was standing in the kitchen, coffee mug in hand; ready to head out to work. “Aren’t all mangos purple just before ripening?” he asks while sipping his coffee.

Well, I’ll be. Are they?

It turns out that yes, and no. A truly purple mango comes from the Palmer Tree, grown chiefly in South Florida. The Palmer tree is all around us here in South Miami, so it’s easy to assume all mangos are of the same variety. The fruit is big and indeed quite purple. Many mangos, though, have other remarkable hues, typically red, yellow, orange, and copper. Some even remain green, which many Asian cultures use in cooking. The mango is not only a beautiful fruit, it is scrumptiously delicious. My humble opinion is that it’s best eaten raw and messy. The best mangos I’ve ever had came from the mountains of Guayama, Puerto Rico. The word organic had not yet been coined, but they were as delicious and pure as a heavenly organic fruit should be. I used to eat half the pickings (skin and all) and sell the other half to the American tourists that would drive through our town. There was only one road for tourists to drive through, so business was always good, and as the only English speaking kid in town, I was allowed to eat my profits.

Like the mango tree, people come in all shades and varieties, and I imagine we all experience these same moments of inadequacy, doubt, and self-reflection. Do we all assume everyone else is immune to problems, stress, and sadness? Some people are better at hiding their frustrations than others; I am not one of those people. If I’m sad, I look sad, if I’m confused, I look confused, if annoyed, well you get the point. It’s okay, and perhaps even good for the soul to feel this way. We can take those moments to ask ourselves the deep questions, decide whether to delve deeper, or move to make a conscious decision to focus on the positive, emitting gratefulness for the blessings we do have.

There are a lot of things I don’t have, but also a lot I do, and though it occasionally takes effort, it’s imperative I make daily, mindful attempts to recognize what is truly important.

I don’t have a purple mango tree, but I have a fantastic almond tree in my front yard. The squirrels get to the nuts before we do and the flowers and leaves make a big ol’ mess on my car, but it’s spectacular to look at and offers a cool shade of which I am always grateful for, especially when sitting under it while the girls bike up and down the block.

I’ve started to enjoy running again, never could resist a chocolate cookie, and life smells as sweet as purple mangos once more. Life is cyclical like that, much like the flowering of good mango tree.

By the way, did you know you can visit over 160 varieties of the mango tree right here in Miami?

Check out The Fruit and Spice Park over in Homestead: It’s a fantastic place to spend the day and enjoy all the tropical fruits. Tell me what you think, if you ever visit.


  1. I've never seen a purple mango tree. But I often feel that if I just had a puppy I'd be so much happier. In reality, we are all blessed just to be alive. Thanks for a thought provoking read.

    1. A puppy would bring so much happiness! But so much work too. Ugh. Thank you for reading!

  2. It's only been within the past two years that I ate mango for the first time, so I'm not surprised by how little I knew about mangos before reading this post!

    1. You should eat another mango soon! Nothing beats a good, tropical fruit. Thank you for reading.

  3. I enjoyed reading your Sunday blog, Patricia. Thank you for writing and sharing.

    Feeling bummed out… going through funks… been there (too) many times and been somewhat feeling it lately, too.

    Nourishment to the mind, body and soul. There is no magic pill to take away the Sunday (or any day) blues. “Life is just a bowl of cherries.” I love your purple mango metaphor for life’s emotional highs and lows. Purples mangos… Or any piece of fruit that is healthy, delicious and good.

    Nothing and no one can give you the life you want… well, except for you. While life ain’t perfect, it is filled with many blessings… say it, affirm why life is good, let it become your daily mantra. Don’t add it to your bucket list, JUST DO IT. Say it. Believe it.

    I continue to learn to accept whatever is thrown my way in life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Key here is action steps to positive living: live, love, enjoy yourself and your life (familia, y amigo(a)s). And enjoy the beauty and taste of purple mangos!

    Love, blessings and gratitude!


    1. I wanted to explore more this feeling we get, how to get out of funks, depressions, how life can become so mundane and tedious sometimes. For some reason I ended up hiding behind the mangos. Maybe I can do it eventually as I gain more courage. Thank you so much for reading. And you are right, it needs to be my daily mantra/affirmation. :-)