The Peach Tree

The branches are heavy with peaches, so heavy they touch the ground in places. The fruits are yellow and deep red. They call to me and to others passing by, who pause to look, to smell the peaches, to ponder reaching out and touching the velvet skin, giving a gentle squeeze to check ripeness, and eventually walk on. The tree was a gift. It consecrated this place where we live when it was new to us, when we were still finding our way around it, learning the views, the creaks from the doors, the clunks of the boiler, ourselves with space to move around, our love in a different context. Our love different in other ways.

It is 5 years now since we moved here, 4 since we planted the peach tree. In this fourth year we are quietly in awe of the peaches. They grow here because of us but we don’t make them grow, they grow because they are here on a sunny hill and their branches get trimmed in the spring and their fellows get pruned early on when they are so numerous they would need 10 times the branches and leaves to fully ripen. These that remain are good and fragrant and so beautiful. We pick them and set them on the counter, giving them an extra day to soften. In the morning we eat them upon waking. The flavor and texture is perfect, the juice, the sweetness beyond description.

The abundance of this tree is a wonder. From bare branches, to little bundles of leaves sprouting along each branch, to delicate peach colored blossoms early in spring. These are watched with care like a toddler starting to walk. There is not much that can be done, just watch and hope that they make it through this stage without too many bumps and scrapes. As the first tiny nubs of green fruit appear, with blossoms still hanging on in pieces to the ends, there is relief. They have made it this far! On chilly or rainy spring days I watch the tree from my chair, happy just to see it growing there. And now in the depth of hot humid summer days I see the orbs of red fading into yellow from that same window and plan the eating of the harvest well into the following spring. There shall be pie on Thanksgiving, bread pudding on Christmas, and two different kinds of jam that will keep us in peaches all through the cold winter when the peach tree will be returned to its bare bones after getting heaped with compost in the fall, its winter blanket and spring nutrition. I see it all when I look at the tree, when I bite into a peach, when I peel and cut up a heap of them for freezing or for eating with vanilla ice cream. We are here. Like the tree, we are here.13823216_10154430490466108_1174348908_n

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