FRUITY LESSONS

Activated - - NEWS - By Cur­tis Peter van Gorder Cur­tis Peter van Gorder is a scriptwriter and mime artist3 in Ger­many.

I was re­cently fas­ci­nated to read how sci­en­tists learned how to make more ef­fec­tive wa­ter­proof prod­ucts such as rain­coats and air­plane parts by study­ing the ridges on but­ter­fly wings. It struck me that I also could learn some­thing from na­ture, and I be­gan re­search­ing fruit trees.

I found that each kind of fruit tree has its own re­quire­ments for soil, mois­ture, sun­light, and pol­li­na­tor. It showed me that each project has to be stud­ied on its own mer­its to find out what works in each sit­u­a­tion. It be­hooves us to learn the lay of the land and study the sit­u­a­tion in the area where we are em­bark­ing on our project. That's why new com­pa­nies pay big bucks to con­sul­tants who can help them de­ter­mine what will work in the area they are ex­pand­ing into.

It takes pa­tience to get a har­vest—two to five years from seedling to fruit—and it takes about the same amount of time to es­tab­lish a new busi­ness. While the young fruit tree is grow­ing, it needs pro­tec­tion from dan­gers such as harm­ful in­sect pests, cli­mate ex­tremes, drought, flood­ing, and too much or too lit­tle sun­shine. The start of any­thing is the hard­est. In the early stages of any en­deavor, par­tic­u­lar care and at­ten­tion need to be given. But we can take heart, as things do get eas­ier as the “tree” grows and gets es­tab­lished.

Now on to the sexy sub­ject of pol­li­na­tion—plant re­pro­duc­tion. This is all about leav­ing a legacy for the next gen­er­a­tion—lunch for the next bunch. Most farm­ers bring in bees to do the job of spread­ing the pollen, but there are other in­sects and birds that do the job as well. We, like the flower blos­som, have to open to new op­por­tu­ni­ties. When the flower is just open­ing its bud, it has no as­sur­ance that it will ever be pol­li­nated, but it is ready when the chance comes. In spring, the fruit tree puts forth its blos­soms, in­spir­ing pic­nics, po­etry and song.

I found out there are two kinds of fruit trees—those that are self-pol­li­nat­ing (like apri­cots), and those that need an out­side pol­li­na­tor (like ap­ples). But even among

the self-pol­li­nat­ing kind, a sweeter and health­ier fruit can of­ten be ob­tained through pol­li­na­tion from an­other source. This could be ap­plied in the sense of get­ting help from oth­ers to make our project more fruit­ful. Those who try to do every­thing them­selves are soon worn out and frus­trated from the ef­fort. It takes a team to make most en­deav­ors ef­fec­tive.

Fruit grow­ers pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to this part of the grow­ing process by plant­ing com­pat­i­ble trees next to ones they want to pol­li­nate. Many grow­ers plant crabap­ple trees nearby as their pollen is ac­cepted by most ap­ple trees. The crabap­ple is it­self too bit­ter to eat, but it ren­ders the other trees in the neigh­bor­hood sweet. The ap­pli­ca­tion could be that good ideas and fruit­ful re­sults of­ten come from un­ex­pected sources or peo­ple—some­times the op­po­site from what you would ex­pect. Be ready for sur­prises!

My el­derly Ja­panese neigh­bor asked me and a few friends to help him with his apri­cot trees. They were bud­ding and small fruits were ap­pear­ing. “When you see three buds com­ing out of a branch,” he in­structed, “pluck two and throw them away.” At the time, it seemed like a waste, but the re­sult was one large fruit in­stead of three small ones. That con­cept stuck with me. You can di­ver­sify too much. There's a lot to say for con­cen­trat­ing on your main goal.

To be re­ally fruit­ful, we need to be like a tree planted by the rivers of wa­ter that brings forth his fruit in his sea­son.1 We need to get our spir­i­tual nour­ish­ment from the source. If we were a mo­bile phone bat­tery, it would mean plug­ging into the power sup­ply to get recharged. If we were a grapevine, it would mean putting our roots down into the fer­tile earth. As peo­ple, we need to draw strength and spir­i­tual sus­te­nance from our source—our Cre­ator. We do this through tak­ing time read­ing and med­i­tat­ing on His Word and through prayer. We then be­gin to bear the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long­suf­fer­ing, kind­ness, good­ness, faith­ful­ness, gen­tle­ness, and self-con­trol,2 which make us truly ef­fec­tive in our en­deav­ors.

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sin­ners take or sit in the com­pany of mock­ers, but whose de­light is in the law of the Lord, and who med­i­tates on his law day and night. That per­son is like a tree planted by streams of wa­ter, which yields its fruit in sea­son and whose leaf does not wither— what­ever they do pros­pers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. There­fore the wicked will not stand in the judg­ment, nor sin­ners in the assem­bly of the righ­teous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righ­teous, but the way of the wicked leads to de­struc­tion.

—Psalm 1 NIV

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