August 1, 2008

The Pear Tree

The Lightning Tree
                                © Photographer: Chrisharvey | Agency:

At my previous house, my Mom gave us an ornamental pear tree that seemed to defy nature by growing to be GIGANTIC within just a few short years...
it resembled more of a huge shade tree instead of a delicate pear.
Well, one year we had a bad lightening storm and it got struck ~ right down the middle. It split the pear tree right in half and left a large part of the trunk and branches laying on the ground helpless.
My husband and family all immediately concluded that the poor tree would have to be uprooted and destroyed. But maybe because of my adoptee status, who knows, I was appalled by their hasty judgement and vehemently protested.
I thought the tree was STILL beautiful and argued "why does a tree have to conform to the 'norm' anyway, to still have life, value, and worth? Even though it was missing half of it's branches, the half that remained was still beautiful.

It didn't die, it just began to grow differently.
The split became less noticeable within a few short years and had somewhat recovered from the damage. You could still tell it had lost alot, but continued to provide beautiful shade and bounty to our front yard.
Every time I looked at it, I thought of adoption. It reminded me of how adoptees have to learn to grow and thrive after the traumatic (split) experience of separation from their mothers, family, identity, and culture, and deal with being grafted in to another. Even the damaged part of the pear tree grew strong and provided shade and nourishment for many types of birds every spring.
I would lie in bed each morning and listen to songbirds sing happy tunes in the rustling branches right outside my window.

The tree was, admittedly, NEVER the same after suffering the trauma of that lightening strike. But it survived, thrived, and received and offered nourishment and life to all around it. Just like adoptees find themselves having to do, in the midst of life-long, life-altering loss.

The sad ending to my story, though, is that after moving to our new house, I happened to drive by the old place several months later to find that a bad ice-storm had damaged my beloved pear tree. The new owners had it uprooted and hauled away...

Maybe, even though it appeared strong and flourishing, just maybe, it was hiding a hidden weakness from the first trauma it endured, I don't know. Maybe it grew too fast and didn't have an adequate root system to withstand more. Whatever the saddened me to find my tree gone. It truly taught me so many lessons and graced the neighborhood during many changing seasons. We can learn so much from nature if we just quiet ourselves enough to listen...

The Pear Tree

"There was a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn to not judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone and come back, he called them together to describe what they had seen. The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.

The second son said no - it was covered with green buds and full of promise.

The third son disagreed, he said it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen.

The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.

The man then explained to his sons that they were all right, because they had each seen but one season in the tree's life.

He told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season, and that the essence of who they are - and the pleasure, joy, and love that come from that life - can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.

If you give up when it's winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, fulfillment of your fall.

Don't judge a life by one difficult season. Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest."

Author Unknown


Anonymous said...

I like this :)

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