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Monday, April 27, 2015

The Fruit Ripens Slowly

The other day, I was talking with my daughter in the living room, and she interrupted what I was saying to remark: "Look at the funny face Bow is making." But when I turned around to look, I didn't see Bow at all. "Where is he?" I asked.

I was on the couch with my back to the pens, and Sword was facing the inner pen. When we sit in the living room, Bow usually climbs up on the spars to keep up with us. There is a window opening onto the living room from the pen, and he can see and hear everything.

"He was up there just a moment ago," she told me, "making a funny face, But when you turned around, he disappeared."

We kept talking, and it happened again. He made a face at Sword, but when I turned to look he was nowhere to be seen. After about three repetitions, I went back inside to talk to Bow. I asked him what he wanted.  תני לי לדבר עם דודה חרב. "Let me talk to Lady [Aunt] Sword."

"I'm not his aunt!" from the living room she protested.

In Hebrew, the word for aunt is also used to designate grown women, especially when talking to children, the same way in English we might say "look at that lady". Bow has taken to referring to himself as an "uncle" whenever he wants to make it clear that he is not a baby, anymore.

"I don't think he meant it that way," I said to Sword. "I think he means that he knows you are practically grown up."

Reluctantly, she came and sat by him for a moment of silent communion on the other side of the pen door. This seemed to satisfy him. Bow does not like being ignored, but he does not necessarily ask for very much by way of intellectual interaction.

Bow making a friendly face in the outer pen
They are growing up so fast! She has only two more years of high school ahead of her before she starts her independent life. And he will also be an adult soon, in about five more years. And that's part of what it means when you take on the project of raising a child or a chimpanzee: that it takes time, and early on in the experiment, it seems they will never grow up and things are moving so slowly, but by imperceptible  tiny  leaps and bounds they do grow and change so that they seem to become something completely different from what they were at the start.

Bow looking thoughtful though amused

I used to miss the intermediate stages of the fruit on the trees ripening, too. I mean, I would notice the blossoms, and then a little later in the season, I would notice that the fruit was ripe. But exactly how this magic happened was beyond me. I was too busy to look at the trees every day.

an unripe cherry emerging from the blossom

Now I can see how the cherries emerge from the spent flowers.

Two cherries growing in opposite directions

I notice that while one tree is busy growing cherries, the other still sports some late blooming blossoms, because no two are on exactly the same schedule.

I can see the little fringe of flower left at the top of the pears as they ripen.

The pears seem to wear a flower crown

And I notice how the little fuzzy peaches emerge from the bloom.

Fuzzy peaches wear their spent flowers like a hula skirt

I even notice the mystery fruit on our mystery tree when it is looking more like an olive than the plum it will become.

Can you spot the mystery fruit in this picture?
There are seasons in life, and each brings with it its particular rewards. I plan to savor all of them! But you can't wait till the last moment to set out on an eighteen year trip. You have to allot the needed time for the journey. And sometimes we are more mindful, and other times we don't notice, yet the fruit ripens either way.


  1. I like how you think Ayla; the fruit does ripen either way :)

  2. This post was kind of nostalgic, and made me want to cry. I usually do not feel that way reading a blog post. Gee, what came over me?

    1. Thanks, Julia! That is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said in a comment. Now I feel like crying, too...

  3. I love, love this comment, Aya:
    And sometimes we are more mindful, and other times we don't notice, yet the fruit ripens either way. Very poetic. I really try to be more mindful of the things around me. Maybe it's a result of growing older, but as the Steven Tyler song goes, "I don't wanna miss a thing"....and neither do I.

    1. Hi, Kathy, I had a linguistics professor named Stephen Tyler. For a second, I thought you were talking about him!

      Yes, I do think we notice a lot more of the small things all around us as we get older. Our horizons shrink, but we do get more mindful of what is happening right in front of us.