Remember the big old moss-covered apple tree up by the road, the one I let you climb because I thought it was dead and you couldn’t hurt it. Today I was cutting the grass around the base of that old tree, and to my surprise, I saw blossoms on it. Green leaves and pink blossoms! As I looked at it in wonder, I saw a branch move as though beckoning me to sit down, so I sat amongst the sweet cicely under its mossy old branches, and the old tree told me this story:
“When I was a young sapling, no bigger than that stinging nettle over there, I was uprooted from my home in an Okanagan orchard. My roots were wrapped with burlap and I was shoved into the trunk of a car. Days later my prison door opened and I was greeted with shouts and whoops of joy. Loving hands unwrapped me and planted me right here by the road. I was named ‘The Tree’. Happy voices danced around me and every day a child watered me and told me all that was going on in the field, in the house and in the town. My first attempt at producing apples, though feeble, was cause for great excitement. Three apples. Each person got half. They sat around me eating my fruit, laughing and celebrating.
Then one day, one horrible day, I tasted salt as the child watered me and sadly said goodbye. He promised to come back and take care of me. I smelled smoke and I heard cries and rough voices. Fear, anger, screams of anguish and then silence. A deadening, deafening silence. When the happy voices stopped, I guess I stopped living too. I could not fight the silence. I waited for the moss to cover me. There was no reason for me to flower. No need for my fruit.
And then I was jolted out of my sleep of despair by a familiar touch. A child’s touch. Childish laughter floated through my branches. It felt so good. I felt like bursting at the music of it. Life flowed through me again and now, you see, I have blossoms.
Who knows, I still may be able to give an apple or two!”
©Sharron R. McMillan