Don’t know if I’m being sappy or indulgent or sentimental here, but please bear with me!
Before my cancer diagnosis, I bought an apple tree. We’d had a large above ground pool in our backyard, which we’d removed, and I wanted TREES in our back yard to fill the space. I thought a fruit tree would be nice, so bought a self-pollinating green apple tree. After a few years, it actually had lots of apples, and they were the best apples I’d ever tasted. One year, just after my cancer diagnosis, I notices we had a worm problem with the apples, so I decided to spray the tree with insecticide. A few days after I sprayed it, the leaves started dying, and I realized my mistake…I’d sprayed it with herbicide instead of insecticide. Soon branches started dying. I pruned the tree many times hoping that when I removed the dead wood, enough of it would survive to keep the tree alive. As I did that, I felt I was “debulking” it, much like my own cytoreduction surgery. In the end, all of the branches died, and I had only a dead trunk. I cut down the trunk, I’d killed my apple tree. It was gone.
But the next spring, a small shoot appeared where the dead trunk had been. The tiny leaves looked a bit like my old apple trees leaves, so I tried to nurture it. The next year the leaves came back again. Over the next several years, I nurtured the small plant, and it grew to a small tree. No blossoms, no apples, but I kept nurturing it anyway. I wasn’t sure if it was a tree or a big weed, but I kept it.
This year, my tenth anniversary cancer-free, my tree bloomed…and it has apples again! I picked one, and it tasted GREAT!
My apple tree now reminds me that when all hope seems gone, just a small bit of hope can grow. It can become whole, be fruitful. That even after devastatingly hard times we can be reborn.
As a side note, I looked at my apple tree today, and many apples were gone, there were only three remaining. Balanced on my fence-top was a half-eaten apple. We have raccoons and squirrels in my yard, and they never cared about the apples before, but now my apple tree seems popular!! But I don’t mind…..I think hope is something to share. As long as they leave me a few….