Monday, August 15, 2011
Monday, August 2, 2010
With great excitement, it began to sway joyfully and to laugh with excitement. “Whoa, little tree!” said the farmer. “Don’t shake too much; for all of your apples will fall off sooner than I can put then in my basket!” The farmer laid down his large picking basket and stepped back to survey his masterpiece. “Yes indeed. Just as I had hoped for you, my precious little tree. You are truly one of the beautiful trees in my entire orchard; and this year, you have produced for me the finest apples of all of my other apple trees. Yes, truly, truly the most beautiful of all!” With that, the farmer began to pluck the fresh, ripe fruit from the trees branches. As he picked, morning dew trickled gently down from the trees upper leaves onto the farmer, making the ground slightly wet. The tree had tried to hold back its tears of joy; but with each pluck of another piece of its creation, another tear drop fell and made its was down to the ground, leaf by leaf.
Everything was now brilliantly clear to the once little apple tree. The farmer had not lovingly planted it years before with doubts that it would never produce anything; but instead, he had carefully planned out year to year how he would nurture it so that it could grow and transform from its little form, now into a mature tree. While the apple tree had been so concerned with what the farmer was doing to itself, it had lost sight of who the farmer was and how he had strategically and wisely planned out how to care for the little tree until it could create its own harvest.
Many years later, after several wonderful year of harvests, it was odd to the now grown apple tree that the shears that had once caused it so much pain, it now welcomed openly; for it knew that with each clip and each removal of the weeds below, it would produce even more fruit for the loving farmer in the harvest yet to come. The now magnificent apple tree, once lonely and despairing, had become the triumph over the entire orchard. With the loving care of the farmer, it continued to become stronger and better able to create beautiful apples year after year. Whenever the farmer came to visit the little tree, it no longer allowed its branches to fall with shame as it once had. Now, it would shoot its top branches to the expanse of sky and proclaim, “Take me farmer. Cut, trim and pluck anything away from me that will keep me from the harvest that you so desire. I don’t want anything to entangle me from being all that I can be for your pleasure.” With that, the farmer smiled and said, “Well done, my dear little apple tree. You have become exactly what I hoped that you would be, creating delicious apples year after year for my harvest. Well done, little one, well done.”
Then, the tree saw him coming one morning, after the gentle rain had come and gone the night before. This time, he didn’t bring any shears. Just his hands and a smile. “Wow, look at you, little tree,!” said the farmer. “You certainly aren’t so little anymore!” With that, he knelt down onto his knees and began to pull up long stalks that grew all around the tree’s base. “Wait! No farmer!” cried the tree, now once again upset that its roots were being cleared of the warmth that these small plants had given him throughout the previous cold winter and cool spring months. “I need them! They keep my roots warm. Please don’t take them away from me now.” However, once again, the farmer would not stop pulling with its cries; and when he was done he simply said, “Well little tree, it’s all finished now. We will both have to be patience until it is time for the harvest.” With that, he stood and walked joyfully away, occasionally pulling up some other weeds that also had sprung up beneath the other trees.
With summer’s presence came the scorching sun, tanning the tree’s leaves dark green in its bright light. However, the tree, no longer depressed and bitter as before, was now able to withstand the intensity of the heat without complaint. The farmer had not cut him down, as it had once feared. Instead, the tree’s confidence in the farmer, in what he had done, and was now doing, grew with each passing day. It noticed one day, in the nearby pond, that where the farmer had painfully cut off places on its top, middle and bottom, there were many more branches and leaves that had replaced them and now fully covered it from every angle. It also realized that it could drink more freely from the rich soil now that the wild stems, which grew at its base, were completely cleared away from its roots. It began to realize that over the expanse of its life, the farmer had known exactly what he was doing, even though it had been a very painful process at times. That day, the tree decided to never doubt the farmer again nor his plans for its harvest. “How beautiful the world is today,” it said to itself as it gazed across the expanse of the orchard.
A few more weeks passed. The little tree could barely see its reflection in the pond anymore due to the ample amount of leaves which trimmed its branches. One such morning as the tree awoke to the sound of a small bird singing, it noticed something odd that was growing out from beneath some of its leaves. Knobs of golden color, small and round, were protruding everywhere, now causing him to strain when it tried to stand tall in the sunlight. As the wind then stirred its leaves, it was able to catch a brief view of itself before its leaves once again were obscured from the view of the pond. “Apples! Apples! Everywhere! All over me!!!” the little tree exclaimed to itself. The farmer indeed had known all along that the painful pruning of itself would produce such a large harvest,” it thought. “Surely, he must have or else he would have done away with me without going to any trouble to prune me.”
Stopping before the little tree and evaluating what needed to be done, the wise farmer raised his shears; and instantaneously, the slashing and cutting began. First, he cut off most of its top, scraggly branches, leaving only small stubs. “Ah! That hurts, farmer! Why must you now mutilate my stems, little by little?” But the farmer didn’t listen. He kept cutting. He moved on to the middle branches, where the most leaves had grown in previous years. As the farmer cut away even more, the tree cried out “Ah! Farmer, why are you wanting to cause me such pain? I sincerely tried the best that I could for you… Please stop cutting… It hurts ever so much!” But the farmer, even sensing the cries of the little tree, did not stop; instead, he continued to cut lower and lower until all of the little trees bottom branches were gone as well, leaving him bear and in the most shameful form in which it had even been.
After the farmer had finished, the humiliated and devastated little tree cried out in agony, “Oh farmer, why after all of my other shortcomings did you have to take away all that I did have only to bring me now to the lowest shame imaginable? I thought that you loved me because you planted me in such a beautiful place, here next to the crystal pond? I thought that you had great hopes for me due to the way you used to describe the harvest that I would someday produce. Why now, after years of my trying so hard to grow and create beautiful apples for you, do you choose to cut me off totally from any hope of a possible harvest?” But the wise farmer kept walking away, shears in hand as the sun continued to rise above the horizon.
Many more weeks passed; until one day, a warm wind kissed the top of the little tree’s soft head. It stretched tall in the bright sunlight, allowing the stiffness of his hurt and bitterness to be removed from its limbs. After the torturous time of humiliation brought on by the farmer, the tree had not cared to gaze upon the wretched way that it presently looked nor would it listen to the encouraging comments of the other trees around it. However, that day, since the sun had warmed it up, causing him to stretch its branches towards the light, it noticed that something was different as it moved about. As it peered over into the small, crystal pond that lay beside it, the little apple tree was immediately and utterly shocked at what it saw between the circling ripples in the water. It began to wiggle its branches more wildly in amazement as it noticed that there were now hundreds of new leaves protruding from them. Then, as it bent over to gaze again into the small pond, it noticed that the ground resembled that of winter once again due to all of the small, white flowers which had begun to dance down upon its larger roots below. “You don’t want to shake all of them off,” said the older tree beside it. “You will need some of those flowers if you want to create apples for the upcoming harvest.” “Harvest?,” thought the little tree. “These flowers will allow me to create a harvest?” “Yes,” said the older tree. “Now remain still; and allow yourself to create your fruit gradually.” Aside from its new leafier appearance, the little tree also realized that it was no longer small anymore. It was much taller, much greener, and even appeared much stronger than most of the other trees which lay nearby. With its refreshed confidence, it lifted it top branches even higher in the bright sunlight cascading from the ocean of sky and stood tall and strong, making sure to keep its branches as still as possible.
Over the next few seasons, the little tree continued to despair as each harvest would come and go; and once again, it had not been able to create any fruit for the kind farmer. It started to think to itself one day, “What if the farmer soon comes to examine me and decides to do away with me due to my lack of fruit for his harvest? It is apparent to me that there is no chance that I could ever produce such fruit as the other trees around me! I simply remain too weak and small to ever produce an actual harvest of apples.” Day after day, it continued to contemplate these terrible ideas, leaving it in utter despair. When it would strain upwards in efforts to gaze upon the older trees with their brilliant creations, dangling from their strong branches, it felt even more pitiful at the thought of never being able to give a plentiful harvest to the farmer in payment for his kindness over the past few years. Finally because of the hopelessness and despair that had encroached upon its weary heart, its top branches fell towards the ground, in the weight of its shame.
The older apple trees around him, though lonely some days as well, continued to create many lovely and delicious apples harvest after harvest. Every late summer, the farmer would joyfully go from row to row, observing the wondrous crop of bright colored apples that the trees had created for him. He also remembered the calm sigh of the farmer when he stood before it and had observed its empty, slumping stems, now a little stronger but still void of apples. “Just wait little one… your time will come… trust me and someday, your harvest will be great.” The little tree did not believe the farmers words that day due to his great despair and continued to dread the worse of what it believed was to come.
The winds of winter came once again, bringing thousands of white flakes with it; and they danced around him, layering themselves on the little tree’s bare branches, causing him to shiver and stiffen. The little tree had not seen the farmer in many weeks and wondered if he were resting like the other trees around him. It had become afraid that if it fell into a deep sleep like the others, that one day, it would not wake up to see another dawn. However, as the cold wind continued to blow and the ice remained molded around its lean form, the little tree finally gave into its command to rest and fell into a dream filled with many sorts of hopes and horrors.
It had been a few weeks that the little tree had slept soundly, through the cold winter months leading into the time when all of the trees would finally awake in the spring. As the little tree lifted its branches towards the cool, blue sky, it was glad that it had rested now because while it still had some fears of what the future held for itself, it also, in its colorful dreams, had begun to remember the kind words of the farmer that now gave him a new sense of hope for its future. On this particular early morning, the farmer, who had not been seen by the resting trees during the winter months, came into the orchard again with an object that the little tree had not yet seen before. Two long shiny, sharp objects which joined in the middle were under his arms. He stopped two rows away from the little tree; but nonetheless, the little tree could still hear what was going on nearby. It was a slashing and snipping sound that sent shivers up the little tree’s bark. Then, as the farmer began quietly approaching it, it thought to itself, “He has come to chop me down because I have not been able to produce what he had planned for me to do.” He sadly stood, frozen, listening for the horrid noise of the shears to begin. “This is it,” he thought. “My time has run out. Oh dear farmer, forgive me for not producing any of the fruit that you so longed for me to create for your harvest.” But the farmer did not stop his forthcoming; and so, without any reserves of hope, the little tree let its branches slump down towards the soft ground.
There was once a little apple tree that stood in the midst of a vast orchard. Because it was the youngest of all the trees, its branches were very slender and not yet strong in comparison to the older trees surrounding it. Daily, it loved to reminisce about the first day when the farmer had come to the nursery and had found him aside a few other rotting plants that had been thrown away and were now lying in the hot sun to die. The compassionate farmer, seeing that there was still life in the little tree’s small, dry branches, graciously saved him from the ravages of the sun, and took it home to be planted among his other beautiful apple trees, which had rested in his orchard for many years. Not only did the farmer plant it just anywhere in this vast orchard; but he planted the little tree near a small, crystal pond, which lay at the orchard’s center and contained the most nutritious supply of water and fertile soil.
Every day, after it had been planted, the farmer would come and spend time caring for the little tree’s dry roots and shriveled stems. He would water it, fertilize its soil, and place moist bark on top of its roots to keep them from becoming even more dehydrated. The little tree had come to love and cherish the relationship that it had with the farmer. Each day, the farmer would joyfully sing and whistle accompanying the singing of the birds, nesting nearby; and the little tree would respond to is tunes by shaking its branches cheerfully as the many breezes caught its leaves with their whimsical tugs.
Its life had been quite pleasant, during those first few years living among the other trees, until it began noticing something that was different between them. The older trees were able to create something beautiful at the end of the warm, summer months, while its slender stems remained bare year after year. Aside from their glossy green leaves, theirs stems held hundreds of brilliantly colored ruby and golden circular forms, which bobbed about in the bright light of late summer. “What are those beautiful gems that you are creating,” it said, one day, questioningly to another apple tree. “These are apples!” exclaimed the older tree that stood right next to him. “They are what we trees create when we are able; and since the farmer has been so gracious to care for us and feed us year after year, it is our responsibility to produce the most beautiful apples for him in hopes of a plentiful harvest. He has given us this great responsibility that we take very seriously; and you will need to as well as you continue to grow older and stronger in form.”
The little apple tree thought for another moment and then asked, “Well, why have I not created apples before like all of the other trees in the orchard? Am I not an apple tree as you are?” “You are,” said the older and wiser tree, “But it may take more time before you produce any fruit like ours because of your smaller and more fragile frame. Your limbs simply are not yet strong enough to bear the weight of the fruit as we do.” With that, the older tree gently turned its branches away from the little tree and began discussing the upcoming harvest with the other older trees; for they were hoping that the farmer would come to the orchard soon and relieve them of their apple’s extra weight, which was bearing heavily upon their limbs.