Monday, April 11, 2011

The Promise of Nothing, or “Me vs. My Plum Tree”

About six weeks ago, I took the following photo of the plum tree in our backyard:

As you can see, the small tree was crazy with tiny flowers.  In the weeks to come, I expected that at least a couple of plums would form and reach a light-green shade before the birds or the squirrels took them.  But yesterday when I was mowing, I checked the progress:  after all those blossoms, nothing. 

I wasn’t aggravated.  Outside of the jelly made from the fruit, I’m not much of a plum fan anyway.  But still… 

I’d predicted the outcome when I initially took the photo and remarked to friends that the tree was just showing off and trying to fool me.  Yesterday, I sighed when I saw the tree bare of fruit.  Then inexplicably, I imagined a conversation between me and the tree:

Me:  You did it to me again.
Tree:  I’m not sure why you are bothered.  You don’t like my fruit anyhow.
Me:  I might eat one if you’d just produce
Tree:  You didn’t plant me, you know.  I was here before you were.
Me:  I understand that.  I wouldn’t have planted a plum tree.  I would have went with a lemon tree
Tree:  No need to be bitter…
Me:  Ha, ha.
Tree:  You do realize that you’re talking to a tree, right?
Me:  Yes.  I’m tree-lingual.
Tree:  OK, I got in a bad one.  You got in a bad one.  We’re even.
Me:  Yep.  Well, I should get back to mowing.
Tree:  If you want to visit again, you know where I’ll be.
Me:  Sure.
Tree:  Oh, by the way.  My blossoms weren’t a guarantee of fruit.
Me:  Yes, I realize that.
Tree:  You don’t really want plums.  Did you enjoy the flowers?
Me:  Well…yes.  They were quite pretty.
Tree:  Thanks.  I’ll do it again for you next year.

The tree had not promised anything (I’ve been living in the house for six years and have yet to harvest a plum).  My own expectation at the appearance of the blossoms was the root of my disappointment. 

In getting to a deeper meaning, people in our lives offer the best that they have to give.  And in that giving, they may best know what we’ll enjoy most.  And the beauty in that is invaluable.

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