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Planting Roots

by B Crawford 3 months ago in aging

Coming of age to bear fruit

Planting Roots
Photo by Macu ic on Unsplash

As I loaded my last bag in the car, I looked back one last time up the driveway almost as to take a mental picture. The feeling of gratitude came rushing over, like a fresh breeze on a hot summer day. I had long envisioned this moment of departure from my childhood home. It was hardly the first time I left, but this time I made a definitive decision to make it my last. This moment feels bitter sweet, quite like the fruit of the pear tree that falls from the branches creeping over from the next yard. There is a small fear tingling inside that something will drag me back again, but it is silenced as soon as the car pulls off.

There was a time when the pear tree perching over from the neighbor’s yard didn’t exist. Actually I hardly remember when it was planted or when exactly it started to bear fruit. Years before the branches of the pear tree began peaking over the fence there were trees that existed along that same fence line that have since been cut down and forgotten. What I do remember clearly is the day dreams first dreamt during the days of my childhood, where another tree took precedence. The cherry tree.

Often when reminiscing on the joys of my childhood, I find my memories bringing me back to the cherry tree. After all, this cherry tree was in the middle of a growing city and its existence in my neighborhood was a wonder in itself. All the children of the neighborhood loved the tree and couldn’t resist scaling the fences of the adjacent yards just to climb the tree and steal a handful of nature’s candy.

Flashing back to those moments often remind me of times when life seemed simple and carefree. Since then, adult life has come to seem quite complex. The sweet neighbor who used to own the cherry tree has since died, and the new neighbor was certainly not as sweet as the cherries in his yard. In our own home, we too faced many tragedies brought on by death. It is in those times our home began to lose its life as well.

Several times I made the departure from this home with hopes of planting seeds elsewhere but each time I seemed to never be able to plant roots. In fact, I recall my last moment with a wise old man we will call grandpa. No, he is not my grandpa but he earned the title by providing me with his uplifting words and familiar spirit in our brief meetings at my favorite late night convenience store. He caught me on my way off to New York for an interview I surely thought would be the thing that would get me back on path to my dreams. However today was odd, because he wasn’t in his usual hanging spot and it almost felt like he had been waiting for me. His departing message was one of concern for me because he was aware of how often I moved and travelled to and from my home town. “Make sure you plant your roots so your fruit can grow?” said Grandpa . “I will!” I replied quickly but halfheartedly.

Truthfully, at the time my mind was focused on getting on the road and headed off to my next big opportunity. Since then, my mind constantly replays his last words like a gentle reminder of wisdom that I missed on my last return home. By now, the pear tree that is close to my own age had dug its roots deep, began bearing fruit, and its branches far surpassed the confines of its owner’s yard. I had expected that I too would be fruitful and fulfilling all the dreams my ancestors had paved way for me to achieve.

During this last stay at my childhood home, I quickly had the revelation that I missed this great lesson.

Wherever I go, I must plant and nurture myself to see any growth.


B Crawford

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