The pear tree I planted almost two decades ago is heavy with fruit. Most years, I don’t thin it out as I should, and when I walked outside this morning, I noticed the tree branches weighted down, scattered cores from the deer that feast each night at her base. A peach tree planted the same year didn’t survive, but the pear and apple trees that share their bounty with the wildlife are strong (or maybe just stubborn).
Both trees and humans have a start (sometimes planned, sometimes unplanned)—physical beginnings and ends. There are years when we bloom and thrive like my beautiful trees, and there will be the day when our corporeal (but not spiritual or energy) lives cease.
People and nature grow—some with love and nurturing; others with little care or attention. My pear tree requires sun, water, and, I’m sure, a set of conditions that I, in my horticultural ignorance, can’t list. We, too, have needs between the beginning and end of our lives: love, kindness, opportunities, and necessities like food, shelter, and a safe place to live (sadly, that is not the case for so many).
The tree is having an outstanding season; I can almost hear her groaning, aware that she could break under the load. Other years, she’s produced nothing edible. Often, we’re filled with the beautiful “fruit of life,” and sometimes, we’re burdened with sorry, pain, anger, or hurt. Laden with joy, we rejoice in good news, but there are days when it’s as if we carry the world’s weight on our shoulders. Our “fruit” to the world can be nourishing and sweet or caustic and bitter.
I’m in awe when I take the time to truly see nature’s beauty and grace, rather than simply look through it or past it. (I also have that reaction to many people.) When we deliver messages of joy, laughter, and kindness, when we lift others’ burdens, hold a trembling hand, or sit quietly with another’s sorrow, we become love, living examples of bearing fruit.
As I think about my beloved parents, brother, and dear friends, who’ve left this earth too soon (for me), I’m aware that my desire is to be a bearer of peace and joy—like so many humans I know (and like my pear tree)—and although there will be many times when I fail, my journey continues.