I must have whined and whimpered enough. Erin, Anna, and Liz had heard all my delays. I had shopped and told them my dilemma: I want an apple tree but I don’t know which one or where to put it.
I pondered the advice of the workers at the local nursery. I procrastinated, especially when I heard it would be three years before the trees produced fruit. That seemed so long. Too long to wait. So I did nothing at all.
These friends wanted to find a gift to celebrate the birth of my daughter. They conspired. They said, enough of the whining. Three years start now. They made the decision for me. They showed up, wheelbarrow and shovel in tow, with two apple trees and a plan to plant them together.
I loved this surprise. I was overwhelmed with it, too. Planting a tree is so … permanent. They grow up. They grow down. They grab the earth with their roots and make themselves at home. Once planted, I can’t change my mind—and I always like the option of changing my mind.
But when your friends stand on your sidewalk, excited to present their lovely gesture, the only thing to do is to find a spot and start digging and hope this push will be perfect later.
Erin, Anna, and Liz have known me since college. I never thought I’d know friends this long. We’ve shared bedrooms and bath towels. And fuzzy mornings hung over. We’ve watched each other find jobs and husbands and start families. Twenty-five years and counting. Even after all this time, I miss seeing them every day. I miss gathering to watch Quantum Leap or hearing the clink of a spoon on their cereal bowl. We meet a few times a year for overnight retreats that are full of conversation and never long enough to know, like I used to, what’s happening in their lives.
When they arrived, it was a hot September afternoon. And the corner in the L-shaped front of my house, where we decided to plant the honey crisp, gets even hotter when the late sun beats down on it. They dug the hole and dripped sweat. Then, they moved to the backyard to plant the snow sweet. We have no shade back there either. They dug the hole and dripped more.
I stood by, still recovering from my C-section, feeling as if they were taking care of me, as if they had sent me off for an afternoon spa. I watched them, sweat on their necks, dirt between their fingers, amazed that these friends would dig and sweat and plan such an event like planting trees just for me.
This summer marks year three of my apple trees. I see the buds on the branches and am thankful for friends who know time will fly, with or without trees growing in the yard, and look ahead to August’s potential.
Inspired by the letter S in the A to Z Challenge. Scroll past the social media buttons to comment on this post.