Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

July 15, 2012

Sowing and Reaping

Filed under: Civics,Elections,Government — by Robert @ 12:06 pm
Tags: , , ,

You sow a seed, in this case the seed of a tree.  You nurture it, you cultivate the soil around it, you feed and water it; eventually you transplant it.  You watch it grow, you anticipate its shade.  You wait for the harvest, the first fruits of its sap.  This is a new seed, and unknown variety.  This seed has never been tried or tested before.  Investment becomes a gamble. This is a change from the last year’s crop.  There’s great hope in the outcome.

Our new seed is of the species Apple. The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica.  It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits in the world.

All of its life energy is focused on the fruit of this tree.  We might admire the byproducts of our tree; we might admire its stature, its stateliness. We could appreciate the sound of the wind blowing through its branches.  We might even wonder at its various colors through the seasons of the year. This new tree might even bring shelter and comfort to others of God’s creatures out in the field. But we wait for the fruit.  If it bears good fruit, then comes pruning, fertilizing, more nurturing, and growth; if it bears bad fruit, well… more on that later.

There’s a great deal of hope in that first fruit-bearing season.  It’s the first measure of growth and performance. A lot of effort has gone into this moment. Evidence of future fruit abounds. There are flowering buds of tantalizing hues everywhere.  The tree even looks good.  Its colors through the year appeared correct.  It has the right height and the right shape.  The air is dripping with anticipation. Our tree is ripe; it’s time for the harvest. The pickers arrive.

But instead of sweet nectar, the fruit of this tree is sour, almost acrid, both in taste and appearance. Birds won’t nest among its leaves and the crowds of ground critters avoid its branches. A change has occurred, but not for the good.  Some fruit falls from the tree to remain uneaten even by the lowly ant.  Allowed to ripen on the tree, the rest of the fruit eventually falls to the ground, withers and dies.  What does fall is collected elsewhere to be burned.  The very presence of this offspring could contaminate the soil further. This fruit would poison the very ground from which it came.

The results of all that hard labor were for naught. The outcome was blamed on the soil, on the water, and mostly on last year’s crop. But the farmer began to question the very seed itself.  Dutifully he fertilized, weeded and pruned again.  Sometimes first efforts are not always the indicator of future crops.

Good trees produce good crops.  It’s in their nature.  When there is good fruit the farmer is happy, the critters are happy, birds avail themselves of this nourishment. This is success. The life cycle of this tree is complete and it is good.  But it’s good not because of the shade, seasonal colors or aromas; no, it’s good because good fruit can only come from good trees.

So our farmer tries once again. Given agricultural encouragement our tree continues on in the cycles of life. Harvest time arrives once again.  But to the surprise of all who witnessed, this year’s crop didn’t include one complete apple.  You see, the skin of this year’s crop shielded from view the aberration taking place within, almost as if it were hiding the change taking place.  There were half-apples and half-apricots, apple-plums, cherry-apples, apple-peaches and almond-apples and each of those varieties by themselves.  This was not expected, indeed, and while surprising, it was very disappointing.  And though intriguing at first glance, this fruit was inedible as well.  Not only did our tree not bear good fruit, it bore half-fruits and fruits other than what was planted and expected.  The very sap of this tree was kind of like a lie. It was as if this tree could not live up to its very nature. The tree never delivered what was promised.  The change was not what was anticipated and planned, the hope was fruitless, and the results were catastrophic.

The farmer had no recourse. Bad trees produce bad fruit.   He had to remove the trees from his orchard.  Cut down and stacked, the wood was sold for firewood—at least someone might be warmed by its loss.  Those who labored here to find security simply from the heat of its combustion were also disappointed.  The very wood of this tree just failed to ignite.  While the tree consumed great resources from planting to harvest, it proved to be of no value whatsoever.  Thank the Maker that our farmer had the insurance necessary to protect his family from this blight, this failed experiment.

On to next year’s crop.


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