Several days ago, Hubby and our neighbor were standing in our yard, visiting, when the neighbor pointed to a strange looking object that had blossoms on it, and asked “What is that?”.
Hubby explained that he was seeing what remained of a more than 70-year old pear tree that had rotted and deteriorated over the years. Now, it no longer looked like a tree, but resembled an old fence post that had stood the test of time. He shared how my parents had set out the tree in our orchard so many years ago and through their lifetime enjoyed the delicious fruits from it.
The neighbor was impressed with the unusual lines and beauty of the aged tree with blossoms on it and wanted to take a picture of it.
When Hubby told me of the conversation, I was surprised that someone could see the beauty of the old tree that was just a skeleton of what it once was.The white blooms on the top surely gave it an unusual appearance,
The tree was once a vibrant fruit-bearing specimen that lasted for many, many years. It was one of several fruit trees that stood in our orchard where they provided bushels of fruit for our family and for sharing with others.
Every summer Mama was busy canning the fruits from the orchard. The favorite was probably pear preserves that we enjoyed for breakfasts many mornings with hot biscuits and home made butter. She also canned pear butter (similar to apple butter) and she often used this as fillings in her layer cakes. Canned pear halves were always delicious with anything so they made a good addition to our meals. Mama liked to try new things, so she experimented with adding food colors to her jars of pear halves. Sometimes we would be greeted by red, green or blue pears instead of the usual pale looking ones. But as years passed, the trees in the orchard died and were cleared out, with the exception of the pear tree.
It bore fruit for a long time, but in spite of its tenacity, time finally got the best of it. As it was dwindling, our son tried to transplant some branches from it and even saved seeds from some of the pears and planted, trying to save it’s presence for the family. His efforts were not successful so we finally gave up and just left it alone. Every year as I watched it deteriorate more, I would comment, “We need to cut that down.” But, for some reason, we never did, so today it still stands in its ragged beauty.
I was so surprised that someone could see beauty in it, that I decided I will not cut it down. I will let it stand as long as I can and keep the memories of how our family had benefited by its being there.
The tree withstood so many storms. so many summers of intense heat and winters of ice and snow. It showed the tenacity of a pitt bull dog in never giving up, but hanging on for dear life. Just as the pitt bull will not surrender in a fight, so the pear tree kept fighting . It reminds me of how we are supposed to never give up, but continue with the fight until the end.
We have a purpose here and it is our responsibility to know that purpose and keep working to fulfill it. During this trying time that we are now living in, we face challenges each day, some that we never imagined we would see. How are we going to meet those challenges? Are we going to give up and say, “This is too hard?’ Or, are we going to fight to keep standing as the old pear tree has done? True, it no longer stands magnificently among many other similar trees, bearing fruit in its season.
However, even in its poor condition, it is still beautiful in the eyes of those who can see beauty around them. And at this stage in its life, that may be its purpose.