It was never intended to be orchard stock, I’m sure. Even though its fruit is sweet, the peaches from this tree have very little meat. Their pulp barely covers the seed and every year it seems that something makes the core rot around the pit. I suppose I could spray something if I knew when to spray and what to spray. I don’t and as of yet haven’t mustered up the necessary gumption to find out.
What I do know is that most springs the little tree is absolutely covered with pink blooms, justifying its place in the yard and bearing a most welcome offering of beauty and color. This year, on the whole tree, which is now about twenty feet tall and twenty-five feet wide, there were only two or three blooms. A late freeze did not kill the leaves but destroyed nearly every bud.
Absent its usual offering, the little tree still adorns the back yard and anchors the curving sweep of our back patio area. River rock and Kentucky flatstone fill in around its base and connect it to the maple tree and the rest of the area. A curved wooden deck, built around the maple, offers a place to sit and the peach tree accentuates that. Small but densely branched and thickly leafed, the little tree provides shade in mid-afternoon.
We took a break yesterday, sipping our drinks and enjoying the shade on an August afternoon. We talked of the week, our work on the house and coming plans. We reminisced about past company and visits to come. In the breaks between conversation, I studied the shape of the branches on the little peach tree.
I also considered that there are times in our lives when we do not feel that we are bearing our greatest fruit. Sometimes we feel bare, perhaps even useless in our worst moments. Sometimes, maybe, the summer has been too hot and too long and we feel like giving up. Other times, we feel that some unseasonably late freeze has brought its sting and ruined our blooming.
Certainly the years of heavy bloom and rich fruit seem more fun. But as long as we persevere, we will see the sprouting and seed and the ripening of fruit planted long ago. And we might keep in mind as well, that even when we do nothing more than give a bit of shade on a hot day, we have still yielded fruit. We have given rest to someone else and borne witness that we were made to serve.