Through the lens of gratitude

I am grateful and that is why I am writing a small article about it. I am grateful for our apple tree, which has been doing “its thing” behind the house for a long time. Anything can happen, this apple tree doesn’t let itself be disturbed by (almost) anything and so far it has defied all weather conditions and has put a lot of effort into its blossoms in spring and its sour, green fruits in late summer.

I remember when my father planted the tree in our garden… I hadn’t even been to primary school. In these days (almost 3 decades after my father’s planting) I visit the tree very often and harvest the apples in buckets and I am grateful, even if it may sound strange… I am grateful to the tree for its work and of course to my father.

This year is the 20th anniversary of my dad’s death and of course a lot has happened over the years. I have often thought: “What would my daddy do now if I were in my place?”, “What would he have thought about X or Y?” and other questions that you ask yourself in this context in your life… You can only keep your fingers crossed that there really is something to it, a reunion after you have given your last guest performance on this earth stage.

After the painful losses this year and the sad challenges we have faced in recent months, I feel all the more grateful for small, beautiful moments and also for the apple tree. For some, it may just be a gnarled, crooked apple tree standing around behind the house. For me it means more – because it does its thing, no matter what. Giving up is not an option for this tree, despite hot summers or some strong winds! I think you can be inspired by its attitude to life and the challenges you have to face.

The tree also creates a connection to my childhood and my father. It is perhaps something typical of life here in the countryside. A generation puts a tree in the garden (or reforests in their own forest if they own one). This generation takes care of the plants and if they are lucky, they can witness the first harvests (as with the apple tree) or they are reassured because they know that they have done their part so that the following generations will benefit from their work, as is the case with the forest.

I am very grateful to so many people in my family, my circle of friends and also to my colleagues and while I am pleased about the apples and the resulting extremely delicious apple pie, I reflect on what will probably be left of us. I am not yet sure what I can build up, maintain and leave behind in a meaningful way, but I will approach it with the confidence my father had and with the perseverance of our apple tree.

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