Picking Cherries

picking cherries in a red bucket

It’s that time of the year when the old cherry tree behind my house, older than the house, older than myself, awakes from its winter sleep and smiles a thousand cherry smiles.

red bucket full of cherries hanging from a cherry tree

In autumn and winter, the cherry trees here look desolate. They forget their leaves and their branches look sad and forlorn.

But come early spring, they grow fresh leaves and put forth thick clusters of white flowers. Then the tree grows a-buzz with eager bees.

Not long after, the cherries blush a little more each day and, after some some shine and some rain, they ripen sweet. And then it’s time to fetch a bucket and gather them.

Looking up as you stretch to reach the higher branches even as the sun beats down on you, the green leaves and the blue sky become a kind of wordless poem that nature quietly shares with you.

But you have to be careful, especially if it’s a windy day and the ladder under you is shaky. Cherry branches, too, are treacherous. They seem so light and flexible, but they easily snap.

Many years ago, my grandfather fell from a cherry tree. They put him in a cast from his neck down to his waist. Maybe it was this tree he fell from. I don’t know–I never asked him.

bucket full of cherries lying in the grass with rose petals scattered by the wind all around it

And if I feel a bit sorry for stealing the old tree’s fruit, the sweetly sour ripeness of the cherries cracking in the mouth red and juicy makes me easily forget my conscience.

For life is a bowl of cherries, a bucket of cherries even, at least one week a year, isn’t it?

picked cherries in a bucket seen from above

4 thoughts on “Picking Cherries

  1. WOW. Cherries seem to have a much richer darker colour here in Australia. Our Cherry season starts in around October. The town to go to is Young, on the southern Highlands in NSW. The first box of cherries for the year’s season, are auctioned off for charity. The winner getting his own box, but the box also goes to the charity, along with the money raised. Alas, I live in the Hunter Valley. Our fruit is grapes. Thus year the harvest has been small due to very bad bushfires and smoke during crucial growing periods. The wine this year will prove to be vary valuable and rare as so much of the fruit was spoiled and could not be crushed. Oh to have a cherry tree.
    Dave

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