Lessons Learned From My Apple Trees
They're Really Not That Much Different From Me
by Bob Summerfield
Brovold Community Orchard
The Stages of Life
This narrative will speak about the life stages of apple trees, but the subliminal message is that people experience just about the same stages of life. As you read about the life of apple trees, think about how the same principles apply to your own life. In reality, I am speaking about both apple trees and people.
12 Lessons We Learn from Apple Trees
1. You are a product of your genetic makeup and your environment. You can’t do much about your genes, but planting yourself in a good clean and healthy environment will improve your chances of having a productive and successful life. If you have good genes AND a good environment, count your blessings. We take our blessings for granted far too often.
2. Plant your roots deeply. Establishing a connection to place and values will allow you to weather the storms life inevitably brings. Be an active part of your local community and allow it to be a part of you. Know what you believe, and hold strong to your values. There is good and bad in the world. Always work for good in the place where you are planted.
3. Just because an apple tree didn’t produce fruit last year doesn’t mean it won’t this year. Let the disappointing parts of your past go and look to the present. Each day is a new day; each year is a new year. Strive to be your best each day. It’s never too late to do the right thing.
4. Sometimes an apple tree takes a year off just to rest. Being busy every moment isn’t being productive, it’s being a workaholic. It’s okay to take time off for rest and relaxation. Take care of yourself, and then when you do get back to work, you’ll be that much more productive.
5. Apple branches grow some each year. A good orchardist encourages the desirable growth by pruning away the undesirable growth. Prune the undesirable parts out of your life, and the things you want to keep in your life will grow stronger.
6. There are no perfect apple trees or perfect apples. A small blemish on an apple doesn’t stop it from being sweet to the taste and nourishing to the body. Don’t let your imperfections stop you from bringing comfort and happiness to others.
7. In my orchard, bears sometimes break limbs off the trees to get the apples, and a deer can kill a young tree by rubbing its antlers on the bark. I must protect the trees from these destructive influences. Who and what are the destructive influences in your life? Protect yourself from them.
8. An apple tree is a good thing, but a bunch of apple trees is an orchard, and that’s even better. Surround yourself with compatible people who you know and trust, and you’ll be a part of a greater good.
9. Apples don’t benefit an apple tree directly. Rather, the tree is benefitted when people or animals spread the seeds from the apples, and the seeds produce a new generation of apple trees. Likewise, share the fruits of your life with others. It may not benefit you directly, but the seeds of your generosity may come back to benefit the world in unforeseen ways.
11. Plants grow toward the light. Follow their lead and avoid the dark things of life. Surround yourself with the light of truth and kindness.
12. Old, gnarly apple trees and elderly people may look disfigured
and unproductive, but both have fed and cared for many during their long lives.
Respect and honor them for what they have done. Learn the lessons they share. Treasure
the gift of the last fruits they have to offer.