By Ischa Lea

A year ago, with great sadness in my heart, I looked at the almost 100-year-old Pippin Apple tree at the end of our driveway and said to her, “I’m so sorry that all your beautiful flowers have been blown away during this extremely windy spring and all your efforts to treat us with your delicious apples have been lost.” As if to make up for that loss, her lovely branches were miraculously adorned with hundreds of apples this year!

She’s been of great inspiration to me, sharing a secret bond, for as I would walk or drive past her, sending a little blessing her way, I could feel the reciprocal energy of a gentle hug coming from her. How grateful I am that she both blesses and graces the entrance at the end of our driveway.

Long overdue for a pruning, how often I would wish that someone with that knowledge came forth to take good care of her. Her energy is wonderful! The cows love her shady branches and often indulge in her treats. And the birds and insects too! To me, she is the Great Grandmother Spirit of our beautiful Sanctuary, providing shelter, food, wisdom, inspiration, and beauty and comfort.Sadly, as I looked outside one morning recently, I was heart-broken to see my beautiful apple tree, so laden with larger, luscious fruits that their weight split her trunk almost in half! I cried that day, and still do when I look upon her glorious presence so suddenly destroyed!

Will she survive? Will her nourishing apples ever get to fully ripen? Is she saying a final goodbye, having given her all to produce countless bountiful harvests despite the harsh conditions of many severe droughts and not having been watered except during the few months of minimal rainfall each year?

Oh beautiful tree, you’ve taught me so many lessons these past two years that we’ve been neighbors. You inspired me to hang on and be strong when I was quite ill and weak; you inspired me to stand back and just allow life to flow through me when I had not the wisdom to otherwise practice; you taught me that resilience comes from within, that sacred inner drive to simply be. Furthermore, you showed me how, despite the lack of human care for many years, you yet thrived, living among the oaks and wildlife for almost one hundred years so free!

I cannot selfishly ask you to stay if it’s nearing your time to say goodbye for that would be wrong; however, while you yet shine in glory, laden with the fruits of your joyful, unconditional giving, I wish to say, “Thank you for being The Tree That Never Gives Up; The Tree That Taught Me How To Simply Be!”

Only time will tell whether how much longer you shall be,
An icon of beauty, decked yearly in spring flowers sweet;

But whether for another year, nay dozens more as friends we meet,
Magnificent friend and teacher you always shall be!

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