Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Makin' Peaches

Just so you know, all the photos in this post were taken January 12, 2009, within minutes of each other. Nothing has been retouched or changed. They are straight out of the camera!

You may question my sanity by speaking of "Peaches in the Makin' " and then show you a picture of old, dried wisteria branches and seed pods. My goal, however, is to show the contrast of living things on the same day, in the same yard. As you might know, wisteria plants are actually weeds that will take over and kill grown trees if left to their own devices. Yet, we love them in full bloom. They are particularly beautiful in full bloom climbing all over huge, evergreen pines. The color contrast is spectacular! But, the truth is, if left unchecked, wisteria can be the ruin of other living things, even large ones. Now, this next picture is of a tender Sweet Gum tree. They, too, grow like weeds in the South, USA--and perhaps other places. The color of their leaves is quite unique in the fall (or winter as the case is today.) On the same tree--I suppose the older, more well established ones in the neighborhood and elsewhere)--I've observed Sweet Gum leaves of several hues from deep purple, to brilliant red, to yellow-orange, to yellow, to green. It's quite a sight to behold, especially because it's all on one tree!

Now we come to this peach tree that has been in residence since the summer of 2002. It was a memorial gift to my husband from the ladies he supervised in the accounting department after his Mother died. It was a terrific gift. You've probably heard me speak of it in previous blog posts. I'm ashamed to say that I've call this very peach tree some unkind words over the years.

Like that first winter when below freezing temperatures were forecast, and my husband and I went dutifully out into the cold night after night to cover the "poor misguided tree" that had blossomed in January. What self respecting peach tree blossoms in January?

Then, each succeeding year, this strange peach tree began to blossom a week or so earlier than the previous year. Now I thought peach trees knew that blossoming in the cold winter months (even though temperatures around here might reach into the 70s) was just a dangerous waste of strength, energy and other essential resources. Yet, this one blossomed right on in spite of the weather.

After the second winter, my husband and I gave up on the daily covering/uncovering of the protective sheets for this misguided peach tree. And, to top it all off, the tree never lost its leaves and gave us time to prune it in February, like we heard peach growers recommend doing. Actually, in December 2007, it did lose all it's leaves a day or ten prior to beginning to bud out, again. That was a first!

On December 1, 2008, I looked at the tree and noticed one lone, yellow-green leaf, high in the top branch. "Wow!" I thought. "It's going to lose ALL its leaves again?" I continued to think, maybe if we're lucky this time, we'll get to prune it. It really needs pruning. Scanning further down the tree I noticed bumps. The kind that swell up just before buds and leaves begin sprouting out. Further examination revealed something else, too. Toward the bottom branches of the tree . . . a single blossom. It looked so fragile! I walked closer and found several blossoms almost ready to join their sister. I shook my head. Why does this tree not figure out the proper season to blossom? What's the matter with it?

Then, one day while reading Debby's post from Life's Funny Like That, I gained a different perspective. Maybe, just maybe, this little peach tree is like Debby. Maybe it sees the cold and dreary world and decides it can be different. It can and will blossom even though conditions aren't ideal, or even easy. It may have decided that it has the capacity to bring color and joy to those who take the time to see the wonder of it all--a peach tree in full bloom in the winter, when temperatures may soar to the high 70s or plummet into the low 20s or teens. It's okay with that. It isn't crazy. It isn't stupid. I happens to glory in being alive, and showing forth beauty and joy and living where it's planted. Providing fruit in due season. Very welcome, and tasty fruit, I might add, before the more conventional peach trees are fully geared up to do so.

So I hereby repent of my name calling and unkind misunderstanding of our precious, joyous peach tree and now choose to glory in its beauty and resplendent display of life and giving. I also pray I'll be more observant and kind in my future assessments of all living things--even people I might think are a little crazy or weird or whatever. For all I know, people might be thinking I'm a little crazy and weird, too. (Okay. My kids don't count. I've come to know they often think that about their Mom. I still love them.)

And in this picture below . . . you see the bees doing their part in "makin' peaches". Thank Heaven for the gifts we are so blessed with in this life--even in difficult and uncertain times as we hear about in the news these days. Life still goes on. Beauty still exists as does kindness, love and a host of other gifts from God.

In the back there, you can see some peaches that are "makin' " as the blooms have already shed their petals.

I do love this valiant peach tree. I pray I'll be kinder to it from now on. (Even though I still don't know when to prune it!!!)


Mary Paddock said...

I love this. Beautiful pictures too.

My youngest is dying to grow fruit trees, though I keep assuring him that they are a lot of work and don't yield for years. He doesn't care, he says. He's willing to wait.

I think he'll make a great father some day.

Debby said...

Wdll, by golly, you made me cry. I guess I needed this post pretty badly. I don't feel like I'm blooming. More like I'm losing all my leaves, maybe. But the sap is running :^D, and a new batch of blooms awaits. Thanks for the reminder.

Pencil Writer said...

Mary, I say, let him try. Start small. It'll be a good project that can be a wonderful teaching tool. There's so much info (4-H/Extension office, internet, library books, Mother Earth publications, etc.)

Debby, blossoms only come when the saps rising, you know!;-} Keep shining and blossoming--showing the rest of us how to go forward with great faith. And, hey. What a fallen leaf or two?