I stand at my kitchen window, arms propped up next to the sink, chin resting on my fists. I see the lone peach tree in our backyard directly across from my view. It’s the only one left of 3 that were already here when we bought our house 25 years ago. The others have died of old age a few years ago, but this one has held on. It even fell over completely with the roots totally out of the ground one year not long ago when we had a hurricane. But my brother in law took his tractor, pulled it back upright and put dirt back around it. I knew for sure this was the end of its life, but miraculously, it has continued these 3 or 4 years since and produces mouth watering peaches still. As time goes by, more and more of the branches die and we prune them off. More die each year. This year I knew nothing would be left of it, but it still bloomed nonetheless and provided us with mouthwatering peaches from the few remaining branches it has left.
Peaches on a tree have a short life span. You better do what you’re going to do with them quick as they ripen, for soon they will be gone. And the crop does not last long. The first one of the season I ate and thought of Kaitlyn because it was her favorite fruit. She always enjoyed the peaches off our trees. I thought of her with each peach I ate this summer.
Last week, as I watched two squirrels climb our peach tree and make off with the last two remaining peaches on the entire tree, running like fury to make it out of the yard with their prizes, I thought of Kaitlyn. I thought of the squirrel she named Harry so long ago, and then all squirrels became Harry from then on out. Thinking of this, I didn’t begrudge those last remaining peaches to the Harrys.
I stand at my kitchen sink pondering all this, Once the final peach leaves a tree, it starts shedding its leaves little by little. Only really noticeable by the ones you see fluttering to the ground, and by seeing the ones on the ground. I am amazed by the tree’s resilience and stand in admiration of it. How it stood the test of time though it had every reason to die, and probably wanted to die, but it held on. It held on even though the very soil it came from kept calling its name. It would have been so much easier to die. But it continued to want to give its fruit to all. It has stayed as long as it could. I feel as though I see Kaitlyn’s life fluttering to the ground, leaf by leaf, now that the fruit has been taken. I wonder if the tree will make it another year. I’m betting that it won’t.
The peach tree was in bloom at the very time Kaitlyn’s bloom died. I feel the tree will bloom no more.