>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009
There's a pecan tree in an empty lot across the street from our house.
My dad discovered it when my parents were here for Thanksgiving, and he and my mom took the boys out to gather pecans. "There are lots more still in the tree," my dad announced, laying a sack of pecans on the kitchen table.
I made a mental note to collect more pecans, but there never seemed to be time.
One night, there was a crazy thunderstorm, and when we went outside the next morning, the street was littered with pecans, many of them crushed from cars taking a shortcut down our street. I figured that must have been the last of the pecans and resolved to do better at collecting them next year.
A week later, I saw a man lingering around the tree in the empty lot. He was thin, disheveled, and dirty, and he carried a bulging, bumpy pillowcase. He paused as I stepped out my front door, looking slightly uncertain, as if he was worried I would tell him to leave. But then he went back to what he'd been doing - collecting pecans and dropping them into the pillowcase. I couldn't believe how many he'd found and wondered if some of the pecans in that bag had come from other people's neglected trees. Either way, I figured, that was the last of the pecans.
Today after running errands, I noticed a "clunk, clunk" sound as I stepped out of my car. I glanced over at the tree and noticed that it was filled with birds who were busily knocking pecans from the branches. The nuts would crack open as they hit the street, enabling the birds to feast on the meat inside.
After the birds left, my boys and I decided to check out what was left of the pecans. We hovered close to the ground, nudging aside the leaves with our toes- but we still filled our pockets and then some. I plan to use the nuts to make some kind of treat to deliver to our neighbors when we go caroling later this month. Somehow, it seems fitting.
From one pecan tree: food for a man in need, food for the birds, food for my family and our neighbors.
It's these little snippets of life that remind me why I love the planet we live on.
(And oh yeah, I got a new camera for Christmas. Thanks, Mom and Dad!!!)