Along the road there have been places of great rest and beauty provided by kind friends, many of whom were just recently strangers…. red mountains, hummingbirds that land on my nose while I sleep in the sun and go out of their way to hover in my face to greet me, a vibrant year round mountain stream always singing by my doorstep, carrying a depth that readily swallows and renews my tired body, the restful bounty and seasonal extravagance of an orchard hosting a variety of prolific fruit trees, a vineyard bearing foreign and domestic grapes and two fat nonchalant greenskeepers daily trimming and feeding the grass – sheep – named Woolly and Bully.
“She passed away the year before last”, offered our landlord, and also now yet one more dear friend. We were prodding the orchard with pruning shears and rakes to wake it for Spring. He was used to sharp instruments that re-order life’s forms, having spent nearly four decades behind a surgeon’s scalpel in this country and in many others abroad. He was speaking of his cousin’s wife. “My cousin and his children received a gift of money in memory, and bought a little apricot tree. They wanted to plant it at the root of an old apple tree in our orchard and spent the day wrestling with the old stump, pulverizing it with a chain saw to prepare the planting place. It’s doing well and will double in height this year. It’s unusual for an apricot tree to bear fruit in it’s first year.”
I had earlier met his cousin briefly, a tall, gentle, warm and elegant man, maybe in his early seventies. He comes from time to time with his grandchildren to celebrate this canyon in which he played as a youth, then shared with his cherished life partner and his growing family. Now he’s a grandfather like me.
I took my camera and wrote some words about a woman I never met but whose love and vitality reflects in people I have come to know – kind and thoughtful people who lived and laughed with her and still share her life … and so many dear memories.
A Little Apricot Tree
This little apricot tree seems almost insignificant and forlorn at a distant glance.
Up close it breathes with life and shimmers in vibrant beauty.
It lives in the parenthesis of mighty Sycamores.
Leaving the limits of its imprisonment, it soars to the sky beyond the tallest trees,
Dances among all living things,
And shares the strength of Mountains.