The Giving Tree

When we moved into our home in May 2018, we inherited a mature apple tree in our front yard. For the past three autumns, we’ve reaped her bounty. The first year I filled up paper bags and strung them to our fence with a note that said, “free!” I was giddy with excitement to see if they would be taken. When I noticed only one bag gone the next day, I was bummed. So, I decided to post on the Nextdoor app. Next thing I know, there are people showing up with ladders and bags, for a U-Pick in our front yard. Between laughs, my husband remarked, “maybe you shouldn’t post to the WHOLE neighborhood next year.”

October came again. This time, we had a six month old baby girl. For a second time, we reaped our bounty and gifted the tree’s fruit to neighbors and friends. They presented us with applesauce and apple butter in glass jars. I played with my daughter beneath the shade as sunlight streamed between her branches.

Back in April, my husband finally pruned the apple tree for the first time. When September rolled around, we noticed we did not have as much fruit as the previous two years. He said this is common the first season after a pruning. I think about how we have all changed in the past year. My daughter is now 18 months, my son almost 4; and like our apple tree, it feels as though we’ve all gone through our own pruning. I personally have been pruned; certain conditioning and thinking has been cut off. Ignorance has been cut off. The need to impress has been cut off.

Most of us feel like 2020 has been a rotten year. A year that has yielded little to no fruit. However, what is fascinating to me is that our apples this season were bigger than they’ve ever been. There may have been fewer, but they were bigger. Maybe 2020 hasn’t been what we expected— but, what if the things that were cut off, gave space for us to nourish what matters the most?

This year, in the year 2020, we were able to harvest some of our apples with my mom. After 8 months of not seeing each other, the longest we’ve gone, I got to witness the JOY on her face of holding her granddaughter, and plucking a piece of fruit from our tree, the giving tree.

After she left, I allowed myself one day of wallowing.

Then, I bagged up our green apples, attached the recipe for my Oatmeal Cookie Apple Crumble, and set off with my children to make our deliveries.

Dropping off the apples, I realized how much people have missed each other. Each home we went to, we were met with neighbors who were eager to chat. One neighbor even invited us into her home, which during these times, is saying a lot! The sadness I felt the day before, was replaced by an unexpected joy; a joy that comes when we give.

A powerful reminder that coronavirus isn’t the only thing that’s contagious. πŸ˜‰

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhaleβ€”an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in this series “Unexpected Joy”.