The Pear Tree by Sara Wright

She was more
 than a sapling,
 so robust.
 One summer she
 bowed
her tear shaped body,
offering
a hundred sweet pears
to any creature
that sought her gifts.
Did the deer remember?
 Fruit that fermented became
fertilizer for hungry plants.

When they
girded her slender trunk
that winter
 I felt betrayed
by the herd of graceful creatures
I fed…

She was dead.
Her sweet cambium
stripped away
 under rough bark.
 Unable to carry
nitrogen, water, nutrients
from trunk to twig

I would have cut her down
but she was hidden
below the house
in the lower field,
out of sight.
So the tree still stood –
 skeleton gray against
 new green
and wheat.

 I continued to visit her –
murmured endearments,
 stroked the scarred
 trunk
“re- membering”
her life,
the wholeness
she once embodied.

Every fall I cut the field
Each spring I walked the
Round.

It was during
a May meandering
that I drifted
towards the tree –
startled when
 lime green
caught my eye.
A few stunted leaves
were unfurling…
How could this be?

Bearing witness
to the struggle,
 I cried out,
laid my head against
 her trunk, caressed
a branch or two.

Some life force
 had not surrendered –

During the summer
more leaves appeared.
I honored her tenacity,
placed protective wire
around her girth
under Autumn’s chill.
The philosopher held
the inevitable question…
  How?

When I approached her
this spring 
plump buds had formed
on branches over my head.
The Red Winged Blackbird
courted us both
 from one of Pear’s
 blue sky limbs…

After the heat wave
I couldn’t wait
to see her again…

Strolling down
 the pine scented path.
  I peered into the field
walked towards her
gasping in amazement.
A brilliant White Earth Star
 stood there before me
festooned in
Bridal blossoms.
 Honey Bees hummed
from every pearl -like petal.

 “How did you do that?”
I queried in wonder,
 recalling suddenly,
that I knew –
 all trees communicate
underground,
ask for help,
exchange information
through rootlets,
mycelial networks,
miles of fungi,
woven into a tapestry
 from tree to tree.
Did nearby white pine  
or crabapple  
nurture her
roots and trunk
when all seemed lost?

 Miracles occurred
with regularity.

Like this one.

I was standing next to
a blooming pear tree
who would one day
 bear sweet fruit!

Life had triumphed
for a cosmic moment.

 Woman and Tree
 were both transformed
by relationship
running deep.

Working notes:

This piece of prose was generated by the question of how much difference my love for this tree might have had on her return to life. Obviously there were biological/ecological forces that helped the tree recover, but my sense is that my love for her also helped in some mysterious way.

Developing a relationship with a tree or lizard or dog seem to create a reciprocity that strengthens both participants. And trees and women have an ancient relationship that stretches back through mythological time.

When we “re – member” some part of us brings what appears to be the past and the present together – my sense is that there is a wholeness inherent in remembering that literally blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead.

Bio

Sara is a naturalist, ethologist (a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Maine.



Categories: General, interspecies relationality, Nature, Relationships, Women's Spirituality, Women's Voices

7 replies

  1. What an inspiring post! I am always amazed at the strength of the force of life. I do think that your relationship to the tree helped it survive — I believe that research has shown the effect that loving thoughts have on whether plants thrive.

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    • I personally am convinced that my love for this tree helped it survive. Plants know when you really care for them, and respond accordingly. And research is finally catching up on this point. Plants also take on personal grief and can other and die when a person is in crisis. They are incredibly sensitive.

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  2. “Obviously there were biological/ecological forces that helped the tree recover, but my sense is that my love for her also helped in some mysterious way.” That’s my sense as well, Sara. Without love, all of creation shrivels.

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  3. Hooray for the tree! I’m glad to read that she came back to life. Thanks, no doubt, to the nourishment of the earth as well as your love. Maybe also with the help of all the wild creatures who knew her, too? Bright blessings!

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  4. I think this is a good and valid point that you are making about other wild creatures who might be benefiting from her flowers and fruit – a multivalent perspective is important to keep. Thanks for bringing that up.

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  5. When we moved to our current abode – rented, the landlord had planted two Japanese maples in our pocket-handkerchief-sized front lawn. Nothing else was allowed to mar the swathe of grass. Each year he pruned the branches back to stunt the growth of the tree. I put a stop to that, politely, I’m Canadian after all, and the trees after a few false starts began to flourish.

    A couple of years later the property was sold and luckily the new owner approved of us as tenants and we got to stay in our home … but the owner had a thing about the autumnal leaves, (either making a mess once they fell or didn’t like raking them up. I never found out which – probably both) and had ‘pruned’ one tree of its summer-weight of leaf-laden branches before I noticed what was happening. Needless-to-say, I leapt into the fray and prevented (politely – I was in full turn-on-the-charm-and-don’t-take-no-for-an-answer mode) the decimation of the second tree. After we promised faithfully to rake the fallen leaves each year, (we did the yard work anyway) the owner retreated.
    The two trees, my friends, my sisters, are truly magnificent now. :D

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