A few weeks ago, I was sitting outside enjoying the sun shining on my face while I read a book and dreamt about life. The wind blew and a sweet fragrance filled my nose. I glanced up and saw that the plum and peach trees my mother had surprised us with last spring were blooming. I smiled and snapped a picture for my mom. They were beautiful and filled with buds. These buds were filled with the promise of fresh fruit in a few months.
Today, I walked outside and looked at those same trees again. Most of the flowers are gone and in their place are baby fruit. The once pink flowers of the peach tree are now filled with green fuzz-covered peaches the size of a quarter and the once white flowers of the plum tree are now filled with smooth green plums the size of a dime. They are magnificent.
As I watered the trees and watched them sparkle slightly in the afternoon sun, I thought back to when I first planted these trees. It was a warm weekend afternoon in late spring of last year. I pulled back my long curls with a hair tie and bandana, put on some active wear and stepped into my sneakers. Putting on my sunglasses, I ventured into the backyard to do some yard work. Prior to our neighbors putting up the fence, I had always wanted to spruce up the plants that lined our backyard but I wasn’t sure how the politics of backyard easement worked. Once they put up the fence, I was excited to spend some time and energy on this part of the yard. My mom buying us two fruit trees was exactly the motivation that I needed to get started.
With Joe spending time inside with little man, I spend the entire afternoon sweating in the backyard. I raked up tons of leaves, pulled apart thorny vines from overgrown weeds and swatted bugs. I filled bag after bag of lawn debris. Eventually, I cleared out the overgrowth enough that I was ready to plant the trees. I grabbed a shovel and dug deep holes, wet the soil and planted my new trees. Standing back, I smiled at my accomplishment. A few hours of work and I had cleared some land and planted new trees. I was proud of myself and excited to watch the trees grow. The thought of little man picking his own fruit in our yard excited me greatly.
The next day I woke up sore, as I expected. One of the areas that I was sore was under my left armpit. I figured I pulled a muscle and tried to take it easy on that particular arm for a few days. The pain never went away and eventually I learned that the pain was not from the yard work, though the yard work may have triggered the pain.
Looking back, life was simpler then. Breast cancer rarely crossed my mind, and when it did it wasn’t because I had it. Life was a series of daily routines, random struggles and a predicable future – or so I thought.
Things have changed drastically since the day that I planted these trees. My life, my daily routines and my struggles are all different now. There is a new norm and yet I am still in awe of these trees. The way that they have continued to grow, despite my lack of nurturing in recent months, and how they went from just a few leaf covered branches, to blossoming flowers and to now producing an abundance of baby fruit. They continued to grow and change throughout the seasons, just like me.
I can’t help but wonder how I’ll reflect upon these trees when they bloom next spring. Something tells me that there will be a new norm yet again. And this time, it will be an even better one.