Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lessons from My Persimmon Tree

I returned to my morning prayers in the corner of our garden.It wasn’t too hot or too cold outside (and unfortunately there’s no rain yet),so it was perfect for a half hour of personal thoughts and meditations. I love my mornings in my cozy corner.
Today as I stood silently among our trees, I glanced to myleft and noticed our backyard persimmon tree. Oh noooooo, I had forgotten allabout it!! We had meant to harvest its fruits on the eve of the Sukkot holiday.All the kids were supposed to be home, and we were going to make it a familycelebration.
But life was very busy then and has remained so ever since. Thepersimmons stayed on the tree, waiting as best they could.

Harvest Time
Persimmons are beautiful tomato-shaped fruits that begin as ashade of light yellow, progress to light orange, ripen at orange, and rot at deep tomato red. Their pulp is yummy, but the skin is chalky or bitter unlessthey’re ready. We put our persimmons together with apples, check them every day,and soon they’re ready to eat.
The persimmons on our tree ranged from hard as a rock yellow to soft exploding red balloons. This was an emergency harvest. We gathered all the workforce we could muster - two granddaughters (aged nine and four), and started climbing. 
As we picked the ripe orange-y fruits from ourtree, bulging red persimmons were bursting all around us, like the blitz over London, or like some kid throwingwater balloons out of the window above us.
“Watch out.” Blattttt. “Don’t step on it…oy.” Pluuuuuuugh. ThankG-d I had diaper wipes to clean up my granddaughters’ splattered shirts andsandals.
We climbed as high as we could. Of course, the largest mostdelicious looking persimmons were out of our reach – something to keep reachingfor. We twisted the good fruit right off the tree, and began piling thepersimmons in our wicker basket. We even tried clearing the tree of rottenfruit, as we were harvesting.
We worked until the basket overflowed, and then we broughtthem into the house. We counted….71 persimmons. And there are more waiting.

Lessons from Our Persimmon Tree
Time passes so quickly. If we don’t pay attention, suddenly ourfruit is over-ripe/ our child is grown/ or our problems are out-of-hand/ etc.
A not-yet-ripe fruit (like a small child) can be nurturedand watched so that it can reach its perfection in sweetness. But a neglectedfruit becomes an over-ripe fruit that will only rot. There’s no going back, norepair on an over-ripe fruit.

While a neglected child can “go bad,” G-d forbid....withlove, attention and patience, we can make a difference in any child’s life. Witha rotten fruit, it’s too late to make a difference. But B”H, the same does not holdtrue with a child. Never give up.

Sharing the Bounty

Fruits and vegetables are so expensive lately in Israel. We hopeto pick some more fruits tomorrow, and then share the fruits of our labors withour friends and neighbors.
We feel so blessed to be able to harvest our own fruits andshare their goodness with others.

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