Wednesday, 13 February 2008

THE EVOLUTION OF 1000 PEACHES

Sounds like the title of a Japanese fairystory but it is a true, Australian story....

Once upon a time there was a little peach stone discarded by a small boy on his way to school. Everyday that seed sat forlornly on the edge of the driveway where it had been thrown, waiting, waiting, waiting for the winter rains to fall and the spring sunshine to come out and warm the soil . Everyday the boy, who had by now forgotten the peach stone, walked by on his way to school. One day the boy's mother called out "Son, today it is raining too much so I will drive you to school." It rained and rained for a whole week and everyday the mother drove the boy to school.

During that week an amazing event was happening under the ground, there next to the driveway - the peach stone absorbed enough water to burst out of its shell and send down strong, healthy roots into the damp soil. On the 5th day the sun shone brightly and began to warm the soil and a tiny shoot emerged into the world for the first time. By the end of the day it had begun to work as a living plant and had turned green. The root and the shoot were happy in the soil and grew every day.

The school holidays came and the boy played on the driveway on his skateboard. He was just learning to use his new toy and once he fell off, right next to a sturdy plant that he had never seen before. He called out to his mother and together they looked with wonder at the young peach tree and the boy remembered how, during the previous summer, he had thrown his peach stone down as he walked off to school. By the end of the holidays the tree was as tall as the little boy and they looked at each other, both young and strong, and wondered who would be the tallest.

Two years went by and the boy grew to be tall and straight but the peach tree grew faster and was already overhanging the driveway, never stopping growing up towards the sky and reaching its many branches out towards the boy as he walked past on his way to school. The mother and father pruned some of the branches that blocked the cars from driving into and out of the driveway and still the tree grew happy in the sunshine and never seemed to need any extra water.

The peach tree matured quickly and in the third year it flowered all over all its branches and had none of the leaf-curl problems of the previous year. In the summer holidays the boy and his mother and father looked in wonder at the hundreds and hundreds of fruits developing all over the entire tree, sometimes covering the whole length of the branches as they bowed towards the ground. They covered the tree in nets to keep the birds off and propped up many of the branches one evening when sudden rain threatened to weigh the branches down enough to snap them off.

In February the family began to pick the peaches and stood relishing the flavour and succulence of each peach and smiling at the tree and thanking it for providing such a fantastic feast for all their friends, relatives and neighbours as well as the chooks and the worms in the compost and a lone magpie that worked out how to eat the fallen peaches through the netting.

One day some helpers arrived and they all set to work to peel and slice and bottle the peaches so that not one would be watsed and so that everyone would be able to remember, even in the middle of winter when the tree was asleep, how the peach stone had grown into a beautiful tree and produced close to 1000 peaches in one year.

2 comments:

Chile said...

How fun to see the tree grow from a discarded pit! And I loooove peaches. Canned is okay, but frozen is better. My mom used to give us a bowl of partially defrosted peaches slices for a treat. It would be covered in ice crystals, sitting in a small puddle of defrosted chilly light syrup. Mmmmm......

Lovely story.

Teresa said...

Hi Kate! Thanks for sharing this lovely story with us. Plants have so much to teach us about resilence, beauty and strength.