My daughter invited me over to have dinner with her and her family in the house she purchased from my wife and me in order to provide for her growing family. My grandchildren wanted me to follow them outside so that I could see what was new and to watch them play. While we were outside my daughter wanted me see what she had been doing with her vegetable gardening. She showed me several varieties of squash that had appeared and, as she didn’t plant them, wondered if they were some that I planted, which I hadn’t. My guess is they were seeds that sprouted from the last hybrids I planted because my understanding is the seed of hybrids do not grow true.
While I was outside I went to inspect the fruit trees that I had planted. As I toured the yard I was surprised to learn that the apricot tree, which was at its harvest time, had not even flowered this year. I also learned that the Anna apple tree had reached its harvest time a month ahead of schedule. These anomalies seemed very strange to me but not as strange as the Mexican lime tree I planted nearly a decade ago. When my daughter moved in about a year ago and asked for an inventory of the citrus trees I told her that I had planted, from left to right; an orange, tangerine, Myer lemon, Ruby Red grapefruit, and a Mexican lime. I further explained that in all the years of the lime’s existence it had never once fruited. I also told her that I had often thought about removing it and planting something else in its place. However, I never could bring myself to kill an otherwise healthy tree. With all this history I was certainly shocked when I stood before that Mexican lime tree and saw that it was covered with limes.
I wanted to share my surprise with my wife who had gone back to Iowa to visit her mother and other family members so I promptly took a picture phone and sent it along with a text describing what I found. Her response was: “OMG! We get to try some right?”
I was reminded of Pete Seeger’s setting of the Ecclesiastes verse: “To everything there is a season,” and this was the season for that Mexican lime tree. Well, maybe there is a season to everything but I have observed that the seasons are not constant. Change seems to be the order of business and although I am often surprised by the variations over time I suspect the early apple harvest is a result of our local weather dynamics, as for example, the patterns of frost. As for the apricot tree not flowering this year I noticed a dead branch that shouldn’t have been, which led me to conclude it had been infected by a virus or other type of infection.
Why did it take the Mexican lime tree nearly a decade to bear fruit? I certainly do not know the answer to this question nor did the people down at the nursery where I had purchased it. What I do know is there were two major reasons I had planted the Mexican lime tree in the first place; Mexican beer and fish tacos, and that is two things that are always in season.