I notice the plum tree by the shed, laden with fruit.
Last summer it had a few small green plums… but suddenly
This year, as the plums grow, I snap photos,
To prove the fruit is there,
That I am not imagining things,
That the gardeners are not tucking the fruit into
These small green orbs clinging to the curving limbs.
I water the tree twice a week in the summer heat, watch
As the green tiny balls grow
And grow and grow,
Until they redden, and the branches bend
To touch the ground under the weight.
I ask my husband to prop them up.
He and Peter get pieces of wood and stick them
Under the branches, one, two, three,
Until the branches are upright again.
Each week, the fruit reddens more.
One week I test one. Still hard.
A few drop to the ground.
The next week, Peter tries one. He says it is bitter.
The week after, all at once, as if on the same day,
They are ripe.
I take a bite of the first plum
And discover I am eating a nectarine.
By the next week, I am picking them all,
Gathering up the fallen ones from the ground, cutting off
The bad parts and freezing these for future pies;
Giving away to friends the fruit picked fresh from the limbs
Before it ripens into over-ripe.
My 100 year old father eats seven nectarines,
Stretching them over a week. He doesn’t remember
The nectarine tree, but he likes the fruit.
I bring seven more to him, and he eats these in two days --
Then stays in bed, complaining of ‘the runs’.
Yet I give him seven more, and put seven more into his tiny frig.
That is the last of the harvest.
We take the wood props down. I look at the branches,
Upright again. I wonder aloud why so much fruit this year,
So little last year. A neighbor says,
“The rains came at the right time, enough rain.
The bees came. The sun came. At the right time.”
The fruit grew, the fruit ripened…
And now in the blink of my eye,
It is gone. All at once.
Not like tomatoes. Not like peppers,
That linger on until Christmas.
How strange life is, the growing,
The harvesting, waiting so long for
The reaping…and then blinking to find
I am on the other side of the moment.
I sit in the garden and I listen to the wind.
Life is like that.
I am young, I am old.
I am surrounded by friends, then
I am weak, I am strong.
I know, I forget, I know.
The cycles turn
And I remember to take each joy
As a gift.
Soul is like a redwood arch in the garden.
The light or the dark shines through.
The wind whistles,
The birds perch and caw. Tiny snakes slither by, unseen.
Frogs hop from the reeds,
Bees bumble from the sunlit roses.
Ah, to live in the gift of the moment
To unfurl like a redwood tree,
Reaching for the stars,
Or a flower opening its petals for the sun…..
To know that seasons change
And change again.
A hot summer this year, a cold one another.
The world changes around us,
Yet the light always shines before the dark comes,
The wind always whistles before it stops,
One has only to look, to listen, to wait,
To be in the moment….
For that is the gift given us,
To be present
Each in our own life,
To savor the moment --
For each moment moves on
And we must move with it.