Timing is everything in the harvesting of figs. Take the fruit too early and you lose the sugar. Wait a moment too long, and the bugs — wasps, flies, ants and Hercules beetles — beat you to it. Or the squirrels, who I watched running up the hill with ripe figs in their mouths. This weekend, looking down on my tree from an upper balcony, I saw the dried-out stems and shriveled tops of the last of the fruit.
In the vegetable kingdom, perfection is a moment followed by swift death.