They won't be in any particular order because I'm writing this at an hour which feels very early after staying awake very late. The sequential part of my brain's a bit scrambled. That leaves my all-things-at-once brain in charge.
So first then, I suppose because it was the last thing to happen, is the plum. Because I am a light sleeper and because my bedmate is an unquiet sleeper, every night I stuff orange and purple foamy bullets into my ears that block out sounds—sounds like logs being sawn, alarm clocks, midnight ice cream trucks, and yowling cats—so Rob necessarily and voluntarily functions as my bones-stirrer when it's time to get up, or as was the case last night, to dose me with meds. Last night it was ibuprofen every four hours for cramps. Routine stuff, just ask the moon.
My last pain killers were delivered past daybreak, along with two marble-sized orange tomatoes fresh from the garden, and a proudly-announced "first plum" from our own tree. I laughed myself awake at the thought of it; when we bought this house several years ago, we were told that the monster plum tree was purely decorative. You've never seen a plum tree so large—by this summer it was officially eating our house as well as the neighbors' shed—and you've also never seen plums so small—tiny, tight, but strangely tasty bird-fruits—useless purple knots only a beak could love. I take that back; my dog truffle-sniffed them in the backyard as often as he could get away with it and it wasn't pretty when he got hold of too many.
We'd toyed with taking the mutant tree down, but could never quite bring ourselves to it, since it had a beautiful trunk and offered us so much shade. So this spring, after seeing the results when my friend next door hired some simple tree trimming work, I started calling around. The first guy came and choked me with a costly estimate, but I signed my name to it and set up a time. He blew me off repeatedly. A second guy committed too, but likewise blew me off and never called back. The third guy I rang up in desperation, a large quiet Polynesian man named Solomon, came through. His charge was even higher than the one quoted me by the first guy, but by then I was so determined to save my tree that I didn't care. Solomon showed up early one morning with a squad of people, and they spent all day long dangling in my tree and sitting on my wall, working, laughing, eating, jawing, sawing, cutting, and unhurriedly dropping limb after limb after limb until my backyard and the neighbors' too were waist-deep in debris. I hoped the plum tree understood the necessity of what was happening. It was a hard operation to watch even from inside the house, so mostly I didn't.
When they were finished, I waited till they'd completely cleaned up and hauled away the wreckage to go outside and inspect. I waited till I was sure the jolly squad wasn't coming back. When the silence finally felt permanent, I slipped out into the backyard to speak to our tree. It was quite a shock to see it after the treatment. Lots and lots of empty space. Suckers gone. Limbs gone. Vanished even was the big limb where I'd planned to hang a feeder and a bath for the birds, right outside my office window. So much was cut away and it seemed that very little shade was left; the sunshine moved freely through the tree.
"This tree hasn't been topped or trimmed in at least 60 years, or maybe ever," an expert told us. We figure the person who built our house planted this tree at the same time, and enjoyed its fruit for a while, but then never troubled about its care. The fruit grew useless over time, and the tree unruly.
That night I slipped into the backyard and climbed up the wall next to the tree and perched there with my arms around it, watching a full moon through its remaining branches. I don't remember if I apologized, but I'm sure I talked to the tree. I know what you're thinking: crazy tree-hugger. Tell me, what's the strangest thing you've hugged, hm?
This morning there in the dark bedroom when Rob offered me the first fruit from our tree, I was surprised when I popped it into my mouth and bit down into fleshy, juicy, lovely sweetness. It was petite, certainly, but nothing like the tiny bird-fruit that's been littering our patio and lawn by the thousands summer after summer. What a surprise!
And what good timing for a symbol of renewal. I needed that plum today. I was going to write about more than tree-trimming and fruit-bearing, but the plum-talk's taken me so long to get through that it's time now for me to quit writing and have breakfast and a day. I will tell you one thing though, and come back to the other stories later. Something in my body has grown unruly too, and soon I will be undergoing some trimming myself. It seems I am a potential candidate for breast cancer. Maybe the simplest way to express it at this point is to cut and paste an email I sent out to some of our family and friends late last night. If you are family or friend (or both!) and didn't get this, you probably will soon, if I can find your email address (even Gmail isn't powerful enough to organize somebody like me—I'm something of a scattered soul).
Just a short note—Rob and I would like to request your prayers, good thoughts, and your companionship in fasting with us. I went for a mammogram last week and had to go back to the hospital for more tests today, and those tests revealed a problem—I have some trouble that is going to require surgical intervention and biopsy. Order of preference:
(1) Miraculous healing, story published in the Ensign magazine, Ripley's Believe It or Not, or at least on my blog.
(3) If malignant, then an isolated occurrence which is removed in its entirety; curable.
(4) There is no four. I do not wish to have cancer, and that's pretty much that. And I don't like the pink ribbon.
Right now I am scheduled for a consultation with a surgeon on the 17th of August, which was the soonest I could be squeezed in. It's possible that my GYN will be able to pull some strings on Monday and get me in sooner, and with the doctor she trusts most: Jennifer Tittensor. (Really, can you believe that name for a breast cancer doc?) Maybe some prayers to that end would also be helpful.
If you feel you can throw your faith in with ours, that will be so wonderful. We need all the support we can get. Feel free to recruit others' faith too, if you feel that's an appropriate choice for you. (It's late and I'm rattling emails off the top of my head and I know I'm missing some important names, so please, help the senile.)
We love you,
Georgia & Rob
So, angels, I'm calling on you to share your strength and faith, whatever it may be. If I didn't love and trust you, I wouldn't ask.
Hopefully the fruit to follow this traumatic pruning will also be better and sweeter.
(P.S. This vid was recorded on my birthday last year!)