On Bearing Fruit
We planted a plum tree in our yard about ten years ago. It’s never been a shining example of great gardening or looked like something that might have a place in a productive orchard where people know what they’re doing when it comes to this kind of thing.
It’s no more than eight or nine feet tall, and we haven’t done a great job of pruning the limbs to give it a more elegant shape. We haven’t fertilized it each year to hurry along its growth. We don’t use any kind of sprays to discourage bugs from snacking on its leaves. We’ve pretty much let the tree do its own thing. And every spring, it amazes me more than the last.
Our humble little plum tree outdid itself this year, its crooked, scrawny limbs loaded with the most beautiful purple red fruit I think I have ever seen.
Today seemed to be the day for our major picking, the plums so ripe that many of them fell off the limb at the slightest touch. I quickly realized I would have to put my bowl under the branch before I touched the plum unless I wanted to pick it up off the ground.
My mom and my daughter and I filled bowl after bowl, and for a while, we were eating as many as we were picking. The sun was warm on our shoulders, a breeze kept the heat from feeling too heavy. And the fuller our bowls became, the more notable the heady scent of the plums, sweet and intoxicating, like something you might expect to smell in heaven one day.
Our little plum tree inspires me. It reminds me that here on this earth we don’t have to be perfect to do great things, to bear fruit in abundance. Our efforts, small though they may seem, in the grand scheme of things, matter, make a difference.
This one tree has given us food for many meals and an afternoon of enjoyment between grandmother, mother and daughter. Those are wonderful gifts.
I love books! From my earliest memories, I loved being read to and then reading practically every book in my elementary school library. There’s something about taking a little trip into a wonderful story that is its own unique pleasure. Over the years, my favorite authors have provided me with glimpses into worlds I would never have known had I not picked up their books. From Beverley Cleary to Lavyrle Spencer to Jodi Piccoult to Anita Shreve and so many others, I am grateful they chose to become storytellers. A great story has the power to move, change and shape its readers. To me, that’s an honorable calling and a task I aspire to.
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