A little bit of the calm before the storm that’s about to hit my work in progress. There’s a reason I titled it Heartwood. Here’s a glimpse. I hope you enjoy.
“This is my pride and joy,” Grace patted the dappled gray trunk of her apple tree. “Come up close. It’s the only way to really get the full effect.”
“You have apples already?” Elena’s hair swept over her shoulder in a dark fall as she ducked under low-hanging branches. She picked her way through the windfalls underfoot. Flies and bees hummed irritably, but none rose from their feasting. Elena lifted her face to peer at the fluttering green leaves overhead. “There are so many! Like little gold ornaments against the sky. So pretty. What kind are they?”
“I have no idea. The arboretum is researching it for me. I didn’t expect fruit this year, or I would’ve had it ID’d sooner. It’s some heirloom variety. Super-sweet but easily bruised.”
Decades of neglect had reduced the tree in the southwest corner of the yard to a gnarled tangle of rot and suckers. Grace devoted several spring afternoons to pruning out dead branches, but the raggedy remnants didn’t inspire hope. She resigned herself to spending several seasons on the tree’s renewal. Instead, to her surprise and pleasure, the plant responded with exuberance, as if it had needed only the promise of new love to shake off its past hurts.
There was probably a lesson in that. God offered a lot of lessons people overlooked. Grace watched leaf-shadows flicker over Elena’s smile and wondered what today’s lesson was—and who it was meant to teach.