“A man watches his pear-tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap!” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.” That may sound like an exaggeration, but as I have watched the fruit on our pear tree ripen I’m beginning to believe his point. Soon after the snow melted the tree stood alone at the crest of the hill wrapped in spring green leaves, beautifully dressed in her frilly white blossoms. By mid-summer the branches dripped with the promise of buttery fruit as blossoms took the shape of tiny pears. As August ended the limbs of the tree bowed with the weight of the fruit and now I watch like a sentry waiting for that day when the fruit is perfect for picking.
But each day brings new threats that the fruit will not last until that ten minutes of perfection. It seems that others also have been watching and waiting in hopes of a taste from the tree. Little by little I am noticing the fruit I have guarded is disappearing and I have spotted the thieves! One evening as I passed by the window overlooking the fruit tree I noticed a beautiful young deer nibbling some of the fruit that had dropped on the ground. I watched as she munched away clearing the ground around the tree. And it was ok when she nibbled a fruit off of a lower branch. But when she suddenly danced up onto her hind legs to reach a little of the higher fruit I felt conflicted. The tree was loaded and I was glad to share with nature, but my less-than-generous side felt alarmed and afraid that she might go tell her friends of her find and there would be nothing left for me to enjoy.
And tell her friends, she did. The next evening she came back with a friend. The following evening there were three of them. Others have been coming, too. Several evenings a doe and her wobbly fawn dined at our tree. Other times a red snarly-looking fox cleaned the grounds. And when none of the others are there I have noticed the rabbits nibbling on left-overs as well as large black crows taking their portion from the top. You would think that with all these visitors having their meals for the past few weeks that there would be little left for human consumption. But, ironically, as I let go of the fear of “not-enough-for-me”, the pears in the middle branches are beginning to ripen to a perfection that I would not have enjoyed if I had hoarded the fruit from the animals. The joy of sharing is making that portion all the more sweet.
I love that pear tree in every season, but it is most enjoyable at harvest time when I can share the abundance with the animal community that surrounds GraceStone Sanctuary. I have learned much about nature as I have observed these evening dining rituals. And my belief in fearless generosity is expanding as I am learning to graciously share with my human community as well. My prayer is that I, too, may bear fruit that will last.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. – John 15:16
If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com