Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Have you ever seen a fruit tree actually full or fruit?  They don’t look like the spheroids we think of as being perfectly pruned (even if, in fact, they have been pruned and otherwise cared for diligently).  Actually, they look droop this:

But they aren’t stuck in this shape: by winter or spring, when the fruit has dropped or (hopefully!) plucked, their appearance is lighter, if still a tad gnarly:

It’s a nice reminder that not just the animals but other parts of nature have a natural cycle of fruitfulness that changes over time—that includes periods of gravidum and less gravidum—and that allows for some bouncing back, even if never a return to “the way things used to be.”

And it helps to explain some seemingly anthropomorphic lines in Ben Jonson’s wonderful praise of Penshurst:

And if the high-swollen Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute fish,
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loath the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray;
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on land
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,
Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time doth come;
The blushing apricot and woolly peach
Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach.

The fish description might be strained, but it could be aptly transferred to the fruit.

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