When each of our grandchildren was born, we planted a tree.
Gerry’s is a flowering pear, twelve years old.
Very boring to look at now, but in spite of our planting it on the edge of the woods, it still blooms enthusiastically in the spring, as though to forgive us for our poor plan(t)ing. Like Gerry, it’s gotten quite tall.
The almost-five year old, Eli, is represented by a Japanese maple. He’s the performer of the family, so it’s only logical that it sits up on a hill waving its bright red leaves.
When Gabe, who will be turning ten in August, was born, we planted a peach tree. Like Gabe, who is in the middle of the birth order, it sits at a point in the yard between the other two.
The tree is ten years old and we have yet to harvest a peach.
Oh, it’s not that they aren’t there. No, every year its boughs are bowed with the weight of the fruit. And every year the nighttime raiders - squirrels? raccoons? - come and strip it bare before the peaches have a chance to fatten up and ripen.
Each year we revel in the number of tiny, rosy peaches and the wonder of being able to grow something we could actually eat.
We go inside for the night and the next day when we walk up to the mailbox to get the morning paper, we discover that every single blessed peach is gone.
Gone, or lying half-eaten on the ground.
Every year. For nine years.
Could this be the year that breaks the curse?
We’ve made it farther than usual this year. There may even be hope of a harvest.
|Note the store-bought nectarine on the right compared to the size of our small, but very pretty peaches.
I picked some today so when I go out tomorrow morning or the next day and am greeted with nothing but leaves, I’ll know that the tree pregnant with fruit was not just a figment of my imagination.
The suspense is overwhelming.