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dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Mt. Tamalpais, November 8, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed with gathering clouds

If for weeks we seemed to have nothing but sunshine, the same old the same old, then today, we were blessed with a bounty of weather. Sun, wind, downpours, dark skies, cleared skies, sudden plunges in temperature … we had them all already, and it’s only 4 in the afternoon.

I feel the need to curl up on the couch with a blanket, a book, and a cup of hot tea. So far, only the tea has materialized, since there are too many chores to catch up with for jettisoning the daylight of afternoon in order to get lost in a book, let alone plop myself on the couch. But the tea has its own special “light.” In it swims a slice of the Meyer lemon I plucked from the small tree in a container on my deck. For years on end, this lemon tree was, well, a lemon. It just wouldn’t put out any fruit. No matter how much attention I lavished on it. Then, this year, when I finally gave up on it and ignored it, it went into overdrive, surprising me with one sweet lemon after another.

I’ve been reluctant to pluck the lemons. Maybe I want to hold on to them longer, thinking that there is a magic moment at which the lemons will be at their sweetest. Maybe I am afraid the tree won’t put forth any more lemons. Maybe I want to preserve the image of the tree intact with fruit. Maybe … too many maybes knotting the imagination, while the actual fruit withers on the vine.

The fact is that the lemon tree I tended with so much anxiety and constant care over the years, suddenly flowered and fruited the year I neglected it, save for the occasional watering. There is a lesson to be had there somewhere in this: squeezing lemons out of life takes more than worry. Sometimes it takes benign neglect to have the sweetest lemons land in your lap. And that times like that, lemonade can be the sweetest drink to quench your thirst!