Saturday, May 2, 2009

The best thing in my life...

is this pear tree:

Okay, that's an obvious lie.

I have, for instance, a fabulously beautiful daughter. I have a job I love working for people I respect and admire--from the comfort and convenience of my own home. In short, I'm Spoiled Rotten.

But this pear tree, somehow, just changes my whole day every time I walk outside. For about half the year, it just looks like a regular tree and I don't pay it much attention. But then one day in spring--and I do mean one day--it blossoms. Suddenly, like an explosion. One day it's green, the next it has a few little spindly things opening up on it and then BOOM...it's a mass of white flowers and perfumes the whole yard.

This year, it bloomed at the end of a full day of rain, so that the blossoms seemed to come out with the sun. They don't last long, but later, of course, there will be pears.

I'll try to eat them when it's far too early, and they'll be hard to bite into and not at all sweet. Later, when the tree is hanging heavy with fruit, I'll be more discriminating, choosing the pears that are exactly right. And toward the end of the season, when fruit is rotting on the ground and bees are circling, I'll have to pull this out:

Pretty rudimentary, yes. You've probably noticed that it's basically a stick with a bent piece of wire hanger attached to it with electrical tape. But it does what I couldn't do for the first three seasons I lived here: pluck the fruit from the uppermost branches while it's still good to eat. Maybe just as importantly, it was a gift from my father, who dropped by on his Harley and witnessed my efforts to reach that fruit one afternoon and came back later that same day with this tool in hand.

Occasionally, I'll look out the front door and see strangers, often families, picking pears. I usually offer them a helpful hint or a bag or the use of my pear picker, not so much because I think they need my help as because it's the most subtle way I can think of to say, "Welcome. Help yourself."

Hm.

I'm starting to think maybe it WASN'T such an obvious lie, after all

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