Sometimes even nature doesn’t know when enough is enough.
The branches were bowing low, and I knew it was nearing time to pluck the ripening fruit. We pruned & pruned earlier in the spring, but you’d never know it from the hundreds of small round cherry-plums hanging heavy from our tree.
Then one day, it was simply too late. Three of the branches grew too heavy for their size…perhaps the tree weakened during last year’s snowstorm that claimed one of her main branches. Maybe our pruning was wrong or not enough. For whatever reason, the branches broke and I came home to that minor disaster.
We trimmed with love and a prayer that the tree would find strength again to keep offering her shade to our front porch. Then we set to work collecting as much of the fruit as we could from the broken branches.
Buckets and buckets of fruit. Gallons and gallons of plum juice. Some canned to save for another season. Some offered freely to neighbors, especially those who helped turn the plums into sweet nectar by patiently simmering the whole fruit down to liquid sunshine.
There were times during the gathering and sorting and condensing of this labor of plum rescue that I lost patience. But when I stayed present to the simple joy of clearing one branch at a time, preparing one batch at a time, and then joyfully sharing the fruits of our labor, there was a ripening of my own understanding as well.
When enough becomes too much, it can burden and even break us.
The story of the plums isn’t so different from any other story of gathering, sorting, clearing out layers of excess to get to the essence. The plums just make it more necessary to do it now, because it you wait too long, all you’ll have is rotten fruit.
Our plum tree definitely over-produced this year, and the result was more than just broken branches.
It was a good reminder to pay attention to excess, to trim back where needed, to harvest what we can, and to share our abundance with others.
I’m glad I was listening.
Are there any over-abundant, over-giving, over-producing areas in your life?
(Don’t let them break you!)