The tree had never borne fruit in all its years. It stood aloof, apart, somehow distant from other apple trees on the farm. Older trees with trunks made gnarly by storms and age stood stooping, heavy with so much fruit each year that harvesters grew weary collecting it all. But this tree, the barren one, stood young and tall, its bark smooth, proud, and unblemished. As if it did not really see the value in bearing fruit anyhow.
But today, this day of all days, like the bursting forth of sunrise over a shadowed valley, its branches hung low with massive, red, juicy apples. Its first ever fruit.
Some would say my Uncle the Eccentric One never bore fruit in all his years. Some would call him aloof, apart, somehow distant from his siblings. Others would receive accolades for their life-fruit over the years, wearying the hearers with their accomplishments. But my Uncle, the Quiet One, remained obstinate and proud in his barrenness. As if he did not really see the value in accolades anyhow.
But today, as we lay him to rest on that quiet sun-dappled hillside overlooking his farm, we harvested fruit. In quiet voices made low by sorrow and loss we remembered. We recognized. We collected stories like first-ever apples growing on a young and tall tree.
Does the timing of the fruit bearing make the fruit less sweet, less valuable?