This past weekend we went for a walk through what we call our orchard – mostly it’s where we want our orchard to be. There are a few fruit trees, but none mature enough to bear fruit. But we visit every so often to hope and wonder how much longer it will be.
From a distance, the trees look as small as I remember. But when I get up close, the tall narrow pear trees tower over me, their trunks as thick as my wrist. Soon, they promise. Be patient. The time has not yet come. The plum tree has gone from an awkward spray of branches to a brilliant crown of red that glows in the autumn sun.
In the middle of all the trees the grass was once cleanly mowed, a chore that seemed both endless and futile. When Alan finally gave it to nature to do as she pleases, she chose to fill it to the brim with white asters.
From a distance it looked as though the ground was covered with flowers, but as we walked around we realized just how tall they were. Up to my thigh along the edges, then past my waist, then nearly to my shoulder. All of it covered in honeybees, frantically buzzing as we walked by.
As we reached the far end of the orchard, we discovered the grape vines Alan had once planted. He’d given up after years of struggling to get them to take hold. But there they were, vining along the old cattle fencing just as he hoped they might, leaves as big as your head. Along the back fence was the asparagus patch that had gotten overwhelmed, and the blackberries that hadn’t thrived – all of them there, hiding among the sprays of white, flourishing without us.
I used to think that change was a gradual process, but the more I look, the more I realize that it all happens rather quickly. Yes, it takes time – but then, there’s a tipping point. Suddenly, all at once, it’s ready. The tiny sapling becomes a sturdy tree; the leaves go from green to red. The grapevines emerge, and the asparagus ferns wave high above you. Suddenly you find yourself waist deep in asters wondering how it all got here.
That feeling is in the air right now. The tipping point. That sense that you’d better start paying attention, because it’s all going to move quickly. That we’d all better hang on tight, because soon it will be fall – and in the blink of an eye