In the third month of the tenth year of this century, our peach tree should have looked like this:
And in the seventh month, it should have looked like this:
But instead, it now looks like this for eternity:
A good place for spiders to stretch their silky webs, but not good for much else. I don’t know how it happened either. In all the six years since we’ve lived in this house, I’ve gotten more than I ever asked for in peaches. Amazing, amazing amounts of peaches from this little tiny backyard peach tree. In fact, it produced so many peaches that I’m afraid I wasn’t thankful for them at all sometimes. As they ripened each year, weighing the branches down so that Togo could jump high enough to bite them down, my yard became littered with ripe peaches that only grew riper after falling to the ground. We would clean them off the grass in order to mow the lawn each week but oh, the stink! Oh, the goo! Oh, the headache! In fact, I have a pair of tennis shoes solely devoted to cleaning up peach crap. They’re permanently stained and stinky. I would try to pick them off the tree before Togo could reach them, but then I had a different dilemma of finding time and recipes to use them all before they turned themselves into some sort of fermented, demented, heavily-scented home brew. It seemed I could never win.
And now, I’m left with this:
A backyard full of beautiful, leafy trees and bushes with one bare one in their midst. Apparently it didn’t hear spring’s song this year and will now forever slumber in eternal winter.
I knew something was wrong with it last year when we only got apricot-sized peaches. I wondered at the time if a late frost had ruined the fruit. But I now know it was something far worse than a late frost. And strangely enough, I feel guilty. I feel like I wasn’t a very good mother to this tree. I didn’t care for it like I should have. I even hated it at times.
I guess we have to cut it down. And I don’t know why this makes me unspeakably sad. It might have something to do with something I wrote about three years ago. I’m not quite sure I was done growing with this tree. But it’s done and I must go on.
So long, Peachy. Thanks for teaching me how to make jam and pies and cobblers. Thanks for being so much work that I usually needed to invite a couple friends over to spend the day helping me make these things each year. Thanks for the beautiful flowers in the spring and the refreshing shade in the sweltering heat of summer. Thanks for the branches low enough for kids to climb on and set pillows in and read books in and swing and hang upside-down from. I’m really, really sad that you’re dead. I wish I could have told you I loved you.