By chance, I learned that today is National Apple Day. It brought to mind a special teacher that helped me gain wisdom during a challenging time.
Many years ago, while living in a cottage on a farm, an old apple tree outside my bedroom window became a teacher of mine. Shortly after moving in, I was awakened in the middle of the night. My senses were heightened at the abundance of nature surrounding our little home. I could sense the grass growing, the trees budding, and the flowers blooming. As I lay still in the ecstasy of springtime, I saw the moon aglow. It seemed to rise like an orange halo atop the blossoming old apple tree. The tree's sweet essence wafted through the night air.
In time, that old apple tree and I became good friends. I would see her from my bed first thing in the morning. Gazing out the bedroom slider, my thoughts could stretch beyond the golden field and green pasture, carrying me like a leaf riding the wind.
I watched the old apple tree transform that first spring. When her lovely apple blossom gown faded, out popped strands of green "pearls" in her shiny new leaves. By the end of the season, she had spread out a fruitful feast for squirrels, birds, and other creatures to enjoy. She was a cheerful giver.
Then, in the fall, she loosened her leafy coat, and stood bare. Her gray weathered trunk and twisted empty limbs held no trace of her beauty. Once soft and lacy in flowering pink like a blushing bride, carrying a fragrant bouquet, now she was resting in a dream of spring.
Then, one winter's morning, as I gazed at her from my bed, I was startled to find something new and different. The old tree's twiggy branches had naturally formed a profile of a lady's smiling face, as if fashioned by the old apple tree herself!
This childlike discovery filled me with wonder, as if finding a hidden object in a children's picture book. The smiling face looked to the east,--to the sunrise-- a place of illumination, and new beginnings. That long winter I became rather fond of the Apple Tree Lady's optimistic image.
But, with the return of spring, I bid her a fond farewell as she disappeared in a tapestry of new green leaves. The weight of the apples, and squirrels that scampered on her limbs would surely break up her twiggy profile.
But, I was wrong.
Following a plentiful harvest, the wind tossed her leaves until, again, she stood in her nakedness. One winter's morning, I opened my eyes. Glancing upward, I saw her. The Apple Tree Lady was still there!
I knew she was teaching me many lessons: How life brings changes and things once seen can disappear for a season, but although no longer visible, they remain with us to return again bringing a gift of wisdom in the divine order of all life.
Our bond continued, but the following autumn, I really didn't expect to see her face again.
But, once more, I was wrong.
It was as if the old tree and I shared a secret joy, like finding a long, lost friend.
"See me! I made it! was her message. There are many hidden mysteries yet to be revealed. Do not be deceived by the many changes that shroud your view. Things are not always as they appear. You, too, have an inward Spirit that is untouched by life's circumstances."
One day while weeding beneath her laden boughs, a large apple landed beside me. I smiled, accepting the invitation to share. Thanking my tree friend, I took a bite, officially sealing our bond.
Today, in celebration of National Apple Day, I cut an apple cross-wise, in the middle between the stem and the bottom of the apple (not the normal way).
The inside view brought a wondrous smile. It was still true...in the center of the apple, the seeds are in the shape of a star,-- a sign of hidden knowledge.
I'm forever thankful to my apple tree friend for her gentle, playful, giving spirit. "If nature is your teacher, you will truly learn."
Love and peace,