I spent many days as a boy climbing apple trees at the end of summer, reaching for those apples closest to the sun, having learned they were the most sweet in the tree. I fondly remember a very special apple tree that I climbed one summer.
Every apple in it had ripened to perfection. I got lost in an evening of delight in that tree, not wanting the moment to end. I had never tasted apples as magical. Yet, night came and there was nothing I could do to change its mind. Satisfied beyond contentment, I finally climbed down to finish my journey back home.
Even though I was a young boy, I still knew how special that tree was and meant to find my way back to it sooner. But, I let a week go by before returning. In those few days of neglect, my tree had lost its luster. Having passed its peak, some of its apples had even fallen to the ground to rot. My most perfect tree had decided without my blessing that its fruit should wither, and there was nothing I could do to change its mind.
I was as disappointed that day as any young boy could be, but was still naively confident that I would find my perfect tree again. Decades later, I am wiser, as no such tree has ever again fulfilled my boyhood hopes. Fate and whimsy choose their own path, and there is nothing I can do to change their mind.
I am grateful now that as I climbed down from that apple tree, I had no idea that it would endure as my very favorite. How tragic it would have been for such a young boy to have found perfection, and to have been forced by nightfall to understand how moments pass, never to be repeated.
Yet, that tree taught me some of life’s most precious secrets. I now know that perfect joy exists. I know how innocently we first meet it, and how rare a gift it really is. I have learned that seasons march on, and that I should not waste them waiting for my perfect tree to find me again, but that I should seek contentment in every season. Seasons come, and there is nothing I can do to change their mind, so better that I change my own.
Time’s steadfastness compels wisdom that we can be content with memory of such a day. Knowing that we cannot change time’s mind, rather than wasting too much sorrow over leaving our perfect tree, time teaches us to go on living.
High tide is reached and then waters recede. There is nothing we can do to change their mind, but oh the peace in the rhythm we find.