Thursday, January 16, 2014


He pruned the orchard this week, wielding shears and a copy of The Apple Grower: a Guide for the Organic Orchardist, January's rare sunshine fueling his optimism. He sees our young trees with perhaps the same eyes that his grandfather and great-grandfather surveyed their own.

We gathered the prunings today, limbs that would have borne leaves, blossoms, fruit. Yet, these branches had been intentionally severed. I was struck by this imagery, a picture of my own life that has nudged -- no, pushed -- at the corners of my heart and mind over these past weeks.

This goes against my grain, removing that which will bear, in the hopes -- the promise -- of better to come. Alex reassures me that the cuts will allow more sunlight to the branches, and the multitude of stunted apples will be replaced with better, more useful fruit. His book opens here, under Pruning 101, words poignant, "Such cuts will help in maintaining 'calm trees' that do not put excessive energy into shoot development...thus keeping fruit production to the fore."

As an unmarked calendar hung waiting this January, the world's raucous noise echoed, "clanging cymbals" loud. I thought about the words in 1 Thessalonians 5, "...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life..."  I longed for less in the coming year, praying it would yield more. But there is so much to do, I argued with self, so many good things to do. And today, this reminder came in pared limbs bathed in January sunshine. Even the trees can waste their energy, yet with pruning, cutting away so that the light reaches all branches, only then will they be "calm." Oh, I have much to learn.

We gather limbs from beneath the apple trees, and I am thankful for this reminder that paring is a gift, that the cutting of away -- even of the good -- might even yield our best. The light pours through bare branches, and I feel the sun. God is gracious.


1 comment:

Ann said...

I love this! Thank you for your beautiful inspiration. I come across the bible verse frequently in the past year and keep thinking God needs me to listen to it--and you say it so very well. Miss you and hoping to see you one of these years!