lessons learned: the apricot tree

The season of my separation from my ex-husband, the movie Under the Tuscan Sun had just been released on DVD.  I acquired a copy and probably wore it out in the first year following this life transition.

On so many levels, the film seemed to relate to my sadness and grief of the present as well as my hopes and dreams for the future.  It was less about the romantic comedy and more about the theme of new beginnings and the possibilities they bring.

One of my favorite aspects of the film is the old faucet that perches about three feet up in a wall in the villa.  When Frances buys her new home, the faucet is one of many items in disrepair, but as the story progresses the faucet becomes a metaphor for Frances’ life as it flourishes–first a drip, then a trickle, then a stream, and finally, a gush.

I have been thinking about that faucet this past week as the farm comes to life.

You see, the year that I separated and decided to start transforming this suburban yard into my wished-for farm, I bought several different plants to mark the new beginning. One of those was an apricot tree.

At that time, I new nothing about purchasing fruit trees, but a catalog arrived, the price was right, and I submitted my order.

During the first few years, that tree struggled just to survive.  Poor soil quality, limited sun, and late freezes created conditions that few would be able to endure.  But after awhile, one plant grew into a small tree with feathery leaves, providing a perching place for blue birds and summer shade for the chickens.  And yet, in spite of all my reading, pruning, and mulching, it never flowered or bore fruit.  At about the five year mark, I gave up wishing for what it could be come and began appreciating it for all it offered.

Last Saturday, as spring warmth greeted the farm, I made my journey around the gardens looking for what might be peeking out in late February.  Creeping Jenny stretched her verdigris arms across several areas of dead leaves as if to wake up from her long winter’s nap.  Golden daffodils, faces to the sun, greeted me cheerfully as I rounded the blueberry bed and therapy garden. Spring splendor had arrived.

ggf.daffodil face to sun

On Sunday morning, I woke up early to prepare for the contemplative service at church.  Per my usual routine, I stepped out into the sunrise to take the dogs for a walk.  The brisk February air had returned, and the three of us shivered.  As I looked down the driveway, I noticed the apricot tree was covered in white.

Rational thinking aside, my heart raced–it had snowed!  But nothing else around me indicated even a frost.

I broke into a jog down the driveway and stopped in awe at the tree.  After 14 years, it had blossomed.  The conditions were just so, the timing was right, and a new journey had begun.  My little apricot tree was gushing with tender white and pink flowers.

ggf.apriocot tree sunrise

As warm tears trickled down my chilly cheeks, I remembered the film that had saved me so many years ago.  In that moment, I realized that this tree had been my faucet.   It had taught me about self-care and patience, waiting and acceptance.

Later that morning, I shared the story with my church family, and in that moment, I realized that God’s timing, that God’s purpose for who and where I am is just as it should be.  The new journey has begun.

And I can’t stop gushing.

 

 

 

 

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