The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR: PICK FRUIT
I had this idea from watching a motivational video with Matthew McConaughey. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z69SBDAqe5M
When I was little, I loved to copy my dad (He was and is my hero. What can I say?). When he was out in the yard, I wanted to be there, too. When he planted a garden, I wanted to help. I would put on my little overalls, my baseball cap, and run out into the dirt to help plant seeds or make rows. And I would be barefooted. My mom would insist that I wore shoes or flip-flops so I wouldn’t step on a sharp rock or stick. But the feeling the cool dirt after my dad had tilled it felt wonderful. Nothing a spray from the garden hose wouldn’t fit before going in. So I’d kick off whatever footwear I had on and bury my toes in the dirt. I would stand there and squish my toes, long before John McClane did in Die Hard.
Then there was one day my dad and mom and I was walking in the yard next to the gate when I spotted a stick on the ground. I asked my dad to plant it. Of course, it looked like just a plain old stick that blew out of a tree. But with some prodding from my mom, my dad planted it. I was pretty proud I had my own plant (a stick).
Well, guess what? It wasn’t just a stick. After a few days, it started to grow. It started to become something other than just a stick in the ground. Over time, it became a tree, a plum tree.
As time went on, it produced fruit. Maybe not the sweetest plums in the world, but I could go to that tree (MY tree) and pull a plum off of it and eat it.
I was pretty proud of that plum tree. Pretty proud, indeed. Plum proud.
As I have lived my life, I have thought about that plum tree often. I wondered how that stick ended up in our yard. None of our close neighbors had plum trees. It had to have blown there a distant sized distance. Or maybe some huge bird dropped it on its way to its nest. Or… I don’t know. Or maybe God snapped his fingers and it appeared in my yard to see if I would notice it.
Again, I don’t know. Maybe it was aliens.
But that tree comes to my mind occasionally.
I feel there is a lot to learn from that plum tree. And if you read my blog posts, you know this isn’t the first time I have written about it. That tree has become a touchstone for things in my life.
It was more than just a stick and it was more than a tree. It was fruit-producing. As I gave it nourishment and the earth gave it nourishment along with the sky, it gave me fruit to pick and eat. It gave the birds something to eat. The uneaten fruit fell to the ground and nourished the Earth. It produced something of substance. It wasn’t just an oxygen-producing life form but a life form that was life nurturing.
And it became a metaphor for how you should approach life and how you live it.
As you go through life, remember to pick the fruit.
Don’t break off branches or try to eat the leaves. Pick the fruit.
Pick the fruit!!!
What I’m saying is the fruit is the good things in life. Take the good things and be filled up by them. Let them nourish your heart and soul. Let them become a part of you.
Sometimes getting to the fruit isn’t as easy as standing out your tip-toes and reaching up. There will be times that you’ll have to climb a fence and balance vicariously to grab one. Or maybe you just need to shake the tree and hope for the best. If you’re ingenious, you’ll get a long pole and knock them out of the tree one at a time. However you decide or need to do it, DO IT!!!
I’m not even going to talk about low-hanging fruit. Fruit is fruit. But I would suggest going for higher fruit eventually. You end up being out of the long-hang variety eventually.
And when you get that fruit in your hands and you bite into it, the juices drip down the sides of your mouth and you taste the sweetness, you’ll want more.
That’s the way you need to look at life. Every day you wake up has the potential to have more fruit. Every day you wake up, the possibilities are numerous that you could have that sweet taste, that nourishing substance, that keeps you going.
And, yes, there will be days that will be fruitless. Remember those fruited days and have hope. If you had fruit before, you can have fruit again.
The last bit about my plum tree. It grew large. It was one of the larges trees in our yard (minus the two trees I used to climb) and was an amazing sight. Then, about a month before we moved from that house to one out in the country, a Summer storm came through and lightning stuck that plum tree, splitting it in half.
And it died.
It was possible it was brought from above Then, taken from above.
I feel it was only there for me, only me. Maybe it wasn’t there for anybody else. It was an example for me to think about, realize, and to live my life by in the years to come.
Maybe it knew (and the powers that be) that someday it would all come down on me like a load of plums and I would recognize the significance.
Fruit trees don’t last forever. Like all things, they will die. You have to take the fruit when it’s presented to you. You have to climb the fences or shake the trees or invent a way to get the fruit if you can’t just reach up and grab one when… you… can...
Never just assume that it will be there tomorrow.
Then take the seeds and sow them where the dirt is fertile.
Pick the fruit, when you can, even if you have to work for it. Let it nourish you.
Let it fill you up…
Then look for more.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
July 26th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.