The Art Tree

I had an orchard and it was beautiful and small and orderly. This orchard was my life and my fortune. I put a fence around it, I grafted exotic European fruit trees to my trees to enhance and make the fruit more rare and special. The fruit was good and years went by.

It never became the financial success or the spiritual success it was supposed to have become. All types of things were tried over the years. Special fertilizers and special picking machines. Dogs to chase out birds that would eat the fruit. Special imported bees I had to keep. One year I even draped the whole entire orchard in clear plastic and grew lavender in all the rows and this was supposed to infuse the fruit with lavender as it grew. That actually worked but the yield was so low because the lavender fought the trees for nutrients that each bottle of jam that year cost me $114 and it was a hard sell to customers. The market for $200 jam is a very small pool.

I came to the orchard every day. Some days, in fact most days, were terrible outside. This severe weather produced excellent fruit but took its toll on me.

It was a break even proposition monetarily. In personal cost it was very expensive. I couldn't go anywhere, I had to put all my money back into the orchard, and my family felt like they were second to the orchard.

The concept of making chutneys and soaps and such out of the fruit was also tried over the years. Nothing seemed to provide any more to me than it took in effort.

Everyday as I walked into the orchard I walked by a small tree with smooth greenish bark. It was on my list many times to chop down. Years went by and I developed a familiarity with this tree. It wasn't pretty. It did blossom every year for a few days but otherwise it was always its odd scraggly self. I started touching the tree as walked by each morning. First I did this to feel the smooth bark but after a while it just became habit. Every day I gave the tree a loving, and I mean I felt something, stroke of my hand. It got so even in the winter I would take my glove off as I walked by and touched it.

I didn't think much about the tree other than touching it from habit. I was too consumed by the many, many problems of the day as well as trying to overcome another modest season and worried about the weather of the coming months. I loved those trees.

One year, twenty years after I started the orchard, the tree began to grow nubs on its branches. I worried a bit as I though it might be a disease particular to this type of tree. I didn't know because I had never really seen this type of tree before and never thought much about it. I had great affection for the tree for a few seconds each day but I don't know if I would call it love.

The nubs grew. They grew into fruit. The most wonderful and unique fruit you can imagine. Godly fruit. Whatever I did or didn't do, as long as I came to the orchard each day and touched the tree it would give. I couldn't explain to myself why it took twenty years for this tree to bear fruit.

I let the other trees offer thier fruit to the bees and the birds.

It was the tree I saw everyday without any expectations or work that produced the fruit I had dreamed of initially. Twenty years of walking by it each day.