It doesn't matter how much time you spent watering and fertilizing, or the efforts to protect the leaves from sun, and the fruit from birds. Ultimately, a peach is a peach. It takes about a minute to eat. If you're reading something on your phone, or scrolling through emails, you might not even remember tasting it. You'll receive a little dose of vitamins and fibre, then it's gone.
The world has plenty of peaches. Some won’t even get eaten. Some won’t even make it to the store.
So it goes for most of life. Hours are invested into something, and if a tiny, unappreciated fruit makes it out the other end, you’re still not even halfway there.
Two things happened this weekend. First, I reached the nine year milestone of my wrist reconstruction. Second, I researched how to prune peach trees, and I discovered a fascinating thing about growing stone fruit. These trees never grow fruit on the same wood more than once. Over the next year, branches will extend and only then will new fruit come. If you fail to cut back in Autumn, the branches will stretch longer and longer in order to provide fresh wood for the flowers that become peaches that eventually become eaten and forgotten. The tree will become unbalanced. The fruit small and exposed.
The writer part of me wanted to find some symbolism for life in this fact. A lesson to improve an overcast summer sunday. Like, if I chopped off my arms at the elbow, would I be more productive by next summer? Successfully fruiting bigger accomplishments with smooth, baby hands? Was there anything I could chop around the house, or in the office that might yield more out of life in the future? Was there any dead wood in my mind or in my heart where the memory of fruit past prevented new fruit from coming? Could I slice those bits away?
This all seemed a bit dangerous, or too challenging to reach with a saw. Eventually I discovered one thing I could prune back today with a view to tomorrow. My peach tree! I knew I’d been googling for a reason.
Now next year maybe I’ll harvest more peaches than this one. Maybe enough peaches to eat that I’ll never forget the taste of them.
Then it will be time to cut again.