fruit trees.

I read this quote the other day in a magazine, something about how the number one thing you can do to support local, organic eating habits is to plant your own fruit trees. How this enables you to feed generations–children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren–by simply planting a few trees. I read that quote, and it made me want to cry.

I am not the type to plant trees.

Growing up, we moved every three years. As an adult, this has hardly changed. We are preparing to move away, far away from friends and family, into smaller (and more low income-y) apartments, no deck, no grass, no yard. No place for roots to grow underground. I love aspects of being urban, how different it is from how I grew up. I am like a kid in the candy store when I think about the diversity of my new neighborhood, of my neighbors, at the prospect of living each day and not feeling like another isolated American.

But.

There is a part of me that wants to plant fruit trees. This is the same part of me that just up and decided that maybe I need more babies in my arms and that I could really use some built-in bookcases so I could amass a lending library of my own, a part of me that wants to contribute and give and be rooted and planted and think for the future, the long future, a future where my great grand-children eat peaches and cherries and apples that I lovingly watered. But I know that life isn’t for me. I have been called to something else.

But I know a lot of planters, and am meeting more every day. The people who are supporting us, showering us with love, giving us down coats, target gift cards, tutu dresses for the baby. People that are planted, stable, long-term dreamers that can see the fruit of generations. I love these people, and their presence in the upside down kingdom cannot be overstated.

And I’m curious to know: what are you? Are you a planter, or have you been called to go?

This is all getting so crazy over here, us having to ask all our friends for help, being needy and vulnerable, full of excitement and urgency in the work we are off to do. And these people that are coming to us, these planters-of-fruit-trees, have what it is I am looking for in this world. They have imagination, they have the voice of the prophets in their ears, they live in the sticky ground of American capitalism and they give and they give and they give.

And I could just cry, it is all too good.

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10 thoughts on “fruit trees.

  1. lindsey says:

    we all have a place, don’t we? thanks for sharing these thoughts–it helps calm my recurrent thoughts of comparison. i have often wondered if we should be less grounded, less stable, more willing to go at a moments notice, but that is not me. nor brandon. and our apple tree is symbolic of who we are and what we contribute.
    thank you for being willing to go and do what i am not. i’ll send applesauce…

  2. There is so much grace and beauty in this post. I am a planter who for years and years thought that the only right way was to be a go-er. I love this image of the trees and the idea of planting something that goes far beyond myself.

  3. I’ve been addicted to change and transition for most of my life. I love the new start, the new vision, the new dreams. My husband is, by nature, a planter, a gardener, a tender. And I have been changed by this. I’ve had to learn about the theology of place, of staying, of roots. It’s been hard as I feel like most of my life has been in a pod – I just exist in a place, eager to move on. Now I’m learning to enage in community, to have years-long friendships, to hang onto each other, to plant the trees. It’s not always easy for me. But it’s been good. Even as I’m jealous of you sometimes. 🙂

  4. Kelley Nikondeha says:

    Oh Danielle… LOVE THIS! Love how planting fruit trees became such a living metaphor for you, so eloquently expressed here.

    I am a hybrid… no surprise. I do have a place, roots, trees I planted in the yard (sans the fruit, sadly). And I love moving in and out from this desert homestead. It is like an anchor.

    But I also go – annually – abroad. I pack up suitcases, close up shop and fly away. I live a smaller life during my Burundian summer, an introverts dream of space and plenty of books. But we also have plenty of friends who come to visit, so guess I do lots of hosting, too!

    But Claude has planted 1000+ trees in Burundi, of various varieties, to nourish land and people. Literally but also metaphorically. I try, but on a smaller scale, to plant some here and there.

    Love the metaphor, love the post… you nourished me today, friend.

  5. Sigh. I feel your pain. I have definitely been called to go too. I envy planters and grieve the legacy they leave behind for their families, neighbourhoods and communities. The other day someone commented on the alarming number of Facebook friends I have. It’s because I have moved continents, jobs, schools and so many people behind. It makes my heart heavy that I accumulate friends but haven’t had a chance to build roots and go deep. I’m getting married in a couple of months and that a whole new ball of hairy wax that will have it’s own set of implications.

    I don’t know what God has in store the next season of my life. I’m curious to know if he’ll plant me…

    Tender post.

    Love,
    Teen

  6. love this post. i feel you big time – our visa is up in a few months and it always feels so vulnerable and i wish we’d never even bought a refrigerator and washing machine … but then we have to live life with our boxes unpacked even if it’s just for a short while because its so much better that way. bless you guys. i’m very excited for you and kind of living vicariously through you, especially since you will be friends with one of my favorite people. 🙂 b

  7. I’ve always been a go-er, and now faced with the prospect of maybe buying a house and planting roots, I feel both impressed with the goodness of rootedness and also uncertain about really digging in. I suppose we can transition from go-er to planter and back again. As for me now, I’m still testing the waters (To go ahead and mix metaphors) of this planting business.

  8. marnie says:

    I totally feel ya. I’ve done the moving every 3 years bit for most of my life. I’m trying to decide about rooting right now. It’s funny how scary it is to choose either. 🙂

  9. Kathy Harris says:

    We have been go-ers for the last 11 years (to say nothing of my whole childhood as an MK). Thank you for this beautiful picture of how we can see our supporters. Sometimes it is tempting to look at them critically as being too ‘scared’ to ‘go’ but this helped me so much to see them as planters who are definitely investing in me and my family.

  10. J.R. Goudeau says:

    I keep thinking about this post–it does seem like for some people it’s one or the other. For me, it’s been both: five years of going, seven years of planting, and both seasons have been really hard and really good. I think I’m the kind of tree in Narnia that sometimes like to walk around; I like mobile roots.

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