“Beautiful, enticing, forbidden fruit will be offered to you when your “hunger” is greatest.
If you are foolish enough to reach for it,
your fingers will sink into the rotten mush on the back side.
That’s the way sin operates in our lives. It promises everything.
It delivers nothing but disgust and heartache.”
James C. Dobson
It never seems to fail that at this time, each year, I offer up some thoughts
on the gathering of the harvest.
The notion of fruit and or vegetables–be they good or be they bad…
This as I muse over the idea of the labor of one’s hands as well as the required patience
and persistence of both watching and waiting for that labor to come to fruition.
And that’s because I am usually in the beginning stages of harvesting something
this same time of each and every year…
A few years back I posted a great deal about our vegetable garden.
From the tiling of the soil, to the planting of the seeds, to the nurturing of those
tiny first shoots, to the building of a scarecrow in order to keep pesky critters
from eating me out of house and home.
(our scarecrow 2014/ Julie Cook)
We had actually named the scarecrow Tom… after one of my husband’s lifelong friends.
They did favor just a tad.
There was even the tale of the cutting off of slivers of Irish Spring soap and scattering
said slivers around the outer edges, along the periphery of the garden,
as an “old timer” had told us it was an excellent critter deterrent.
Of which seemed to work…for a while.
(the soap and deterents from 2014 / Julie Cook)
But then my dad got sick and needed me.
And I couldn’t tend to Dad and a garden at the same time.
The garden was big and demanded a great deal of attention and time…two things
I had suddenly found myself without as the time and attention needed for Dad far
outweighed the time and attention needed by the corn and squash.
So the garden was abandoned.
Filled in and covered up about 4 years ago.
Yet happily, I still manage to find a few things in the yard of which I must
gather and harvest.
Be it those first deep purple blueberries fresh off the 4 ever growing blueberry bushes…
or those first blushing shades of color coming from the tomatoes I’ve managed to plant
in a few containers perched in the flower beds,
Or simply the monitoring of the growing apples…
I still find a deep sense of satisfaction when gathering and harvesting.
Those of you who have been with me for a while most likely recall that every year,
around this same time, we have trouble with our apple trees and the peach trees.
You may recall the tales of when the sun goes down in our neck of the woods
and we go off to bed, that there’s a magic signal which goes out to all the deer in the area…
a dinner bell so to speak, clanging in the night, for one and all to come and get it…
come on over to Julie’s house and nibble on her fruit trees.
And let’s not bring up my husband’s pecan orchard that he planted about 3 years back…
those 50 “trees” I lovingly refer to as our green Q-tips planted in long rows out in the yard…
Their plight has been equally perilous.
With our resident deer, it’s more of a mindset of eat, kill and destroy any
and all of Julie’s trees.
Their idea is not to merely eat the fruit but rather to eat all the leaves as well as
the entire tree, limbs and all.
And so it’s a bit of a chess match…
waiting ever so patiently to see who makes the first move—
me or the deer.
So as it was today, with the sun was shining and it being most pleasant out,
I went to inspect the remaining 3 out of the 4 apple trees.
Sadly the deer simply ate up the 4th tree.
That victimized apple tree, plus the nearby equally destroyed peach tree,
are what I refer to as the sacrificial trees…as in the hope is that by eating up two of
my trees…that will be enough—
leaving me with 6 out of the original 8.
And whereas I see plenty of signs of snapped limbs and a few unripened fruit spent
on the ground…blessedly, I also see trees full of goodness.
(a fallen apple without the opportunity to rippen is now food for the ants / Julie Cook / 2018)
And so as I go about my yearly task of surveying, harvesting,
and finally gathering what there is to gather,
I am reminded, once again, about the importance of being known by our fruits.
Good healthy fruit or bad, diseased, soured, unripened and spent fruit?
What do I have to offer to those who come with a need or to those who are in search of
something thoughtful, fulfilling and full of ripened Grace?
Well if the deer don’t get involved, then may it be an offering which is good, plentiful,
abundant and more than filling.
By their fruit you will recognize them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.