We Planted a Tree?

When I have an opportunity to talk with children about life, I like to tell the story of my family and the peach tree.

We had enjoyed some juicy, large free-stone peaches one summer. They were from the market. When we asked Mom if we could grow our own peaches from the pit of one of these luscious samples of fruit, she asked, “Why not?”

So Mom showed us – my brother, sister, and me – how to plant the peach pit. We did it ourselves so as to be given full credit, covering the deeply set pit with rich soil in our backyard. We watered the spot, carefully marked, all that year.

I always ask children how long do they imagine we had to wait before we ate our peach. Not after the first year, when we saw only a little green bud coming through the soil. Not the next, when the green stem grew a few inches. Three years? Four?

After four or five years, we had a few little blossoms on the tree, and Mom said when the plant was strong enough, we would have a gift.  The plant was taller, slender, with a thick stem  and little branches shooting off.

During the sixth summer, we exciting watched the blossoms open, then fall off, leaving baby peaches , which grew into medium-size peaches, and finally, a few fairly large, fuzzy-skinned orange-yellow fruits! Finally, we were able to pick the peaches and share them after supper. They were delicious, sweet, and like the pit we had planted, also free-stone, which meant that the pit easily fell out of the middle.

For quite a few years after that, the tree grew and produced fruit.  I learned that planting the seed is only the first step in growing a tree, or growing a person. So these days when I still “plant seeds” I do not expect an immediate return. I just move on, and expect that the fruit will come in its own good time.

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