Years ago we planted an apricot tree in our yard. It was a tiny twig of a thing, but we knew that if it survived it would someday bear fruit. Over the years it has borne fruit, ranging in amounts from five to 20 individual apricots. Apricot trees bloom so early that often the blossoms will freeze killing the infant fruit. But about one year in five, the blossoms do not freeze.
This is that year. It is the first time that the tree has been large enough and the spring mild enough to produce a tree load of apricots. The ones in this picture are what remains after I already came through and picked all the perfectly ripe ones. Two bags full of fruit sit on my counter and the tree is still full of fruit that is almost ripe.
Two neighbors have also been through to glean from the tree. And still the branches are all bent over instead of reaching for the sky.
Apricots are a good thing. We love them. So when we realized that the tree was going to bear fruit this year, we rejoiced at the hundreds of tiny green fruits. The rejoicing was only in passing, because our schedules were insanely busy this spring. We never got out to the tree to thin out the fruit. The fruit ripened and became heavy. Branches began to bend and the poor tree drooped all over.
Inevitably some of the branches broke. The fruit on the broken branches is not lost. They were close enough to ripe that they can finish on a window sill. Nor is the tree permanently damaged. We’ll prune off the broken branches and the tree will recover just fine. In fact the tree will be a little stronger at its core for losing some of the over-extended branches. So long term nothing was lost. But I feel a deep sympathy for that tree when I look at the broken branches.
See years ago we started a business. For a long time it produced nothing that could sustain us, but lately many of our projects have come to fruition. I have been straining under the weight of numerous good things. Inevitably some of them fall to the ground and are wasted, like the apricots that squished under the soles of my shoes while I picked from the branches. I simply can’t process all of the good things and this might lead me to feel like the over abundance is bad. It is not bad, it’s just a lot of work right now. I’ll take those apricots I picked and turn them into jam. That way this summer’s crop will still bring me joy in mid-winter. Similarly I need to store up my good life-things so that they will be with me when times are a bit more bleak.
Up on a ladder, pulling fruit from branches, I discovered something that made me very happy indeed.
I am not the only one who is enjoying the fruits of the tree I planted all those years ago. I do not begrudge the birds their nibbles. I have so much fruit that I’m glad to share. I’ve shared with birds, I’ve shared with neighbors, this weekend I’m hauling fruit off to a retreat to share with friends. Sharing turns an over-burdened tree into a source of joy. I need to remember that when I’m pondering my currently over-burdened schedule.