The Best Time to Plant a Tree

I have been living on five acres of land for the last eleven years, which has primarily cedar and maple trees. Even though I have craved stone fruit and fall color and spring blossom, it has taken until this spring to finally plant, thanks to my twenty-two year old son, Daniel, who is helping us create a "food forest"! Here below our baby fig tree!

The Best Time to Plant a Tree

was twenty years ago
the Chinese proverb says.

Which makes me wish I had.
There would have been paper bags
with walnuts like neanderthal ping pong balls,
a decade of cherry pies,
dried plums set to soak for morning oatmeal,
fig preserves, tiny seed
beads pressed to glass.

When I bemoan
I am still sometimes barren of spirit,
that my landscape is more vacant lot
than secret garden,
when I wish earlier I had cultivated
compassion instead of complacence,
healing rather than wheeling,

when I bitch about the strip malls
gobbling up forests as I drive
once again to the grocery store,
I remember the quote continues,
the second best time to plant a tree is today
and extrapolate.

Cherry. Cheerfulness.
Apple. Ableness.
Pear. Peace.
Peach. Patience.
Fig. Forgiveness.
Apricot. Courage.

I stand before them at the nursery,
willowy starts like girls
in a receiving line at a debutante ball.
On plastic tags, promises of a nectared future,
from the mere names-
golden amber, north star, eversweet, winesap.
I imagine being both rooted and reaching,
with today and trowel in hand,
while I look toward tomorrow,
halo of bees,
heart blossoms.