There will be times

A few months after I photographed these bare trees, they were covered with beautiful blooms.

A few months after I photographed these bare trees, they were covered with beautiful blooms.

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.”Anton Chekhov

Even when the trees appear to be bare, there is a lot happening underground.  A gardener once explained to me that fall is the best time to transplant most shrubs and trees, because the root system will develop most during the winter, before the demands of blooms and fruit take over.  Growth is not always visible to us.

I think there’s a life lesson for people here, too.  It’s easy to get impatient during times when progress is not apparent.  But unseen changes are always happening.  Our task is to nourish and cultivate our minds, hearts and bodies so that the inevitable changes are taking us in the right direction.  If we can manage to stay focused on what is good, just, positive and hopeful, we will grow stronger even if we don’t feel or see that growth for a very long time.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Mike C

    Ahh the beautiful Crepe Myrtles again. And these have not suffered the fate of Crepe Murder which according to my son is something done by unscrupulous yard care companies to keep them busy during the winter. There is an art to pruning these beauties.
    Miraculousy, I found the book “gift from the Sea” on my return to the Goodwill in Woodstock.

    • Yes, the crape myrtles are beautiful in all seasons. What I like most about them is that they bloom for so much longer a time than the lovely but all-too-brief flowers of the cherry trees. Also the crape myrtle loves the heat, and blooms gloriously when everything else is starting to wilt in the sun. I’m happy you found Gift from the Sea. It’s a book that bears reading again and again.

  2. mike c

    Yes I can easily see it is a spiritual classic. It deserves to be read slowly and like you say – over and over. And it makes me want to visit Captiva or Sanibel and look for shells. I suppose at this point in my life I am still an oyster-clinging desperately to the past-and the many material treasures I own and am not quite ready to part with.
    One trip to Florida we made it out to Clearwater which does not appear to be too far away. There is also the Greek town St. Petersburg where every year they have the famous dive during Epiphany.
    Do you have any Eastern Red Buds in bloom there? I saw two yesterday at Marietta Square- downtown Marietta. This is also a favorite tree of mine. I did not realize that the Myrtles are long lasting bloomers. Here the Okame cherries are still blooming. I did not make it to garden club this week. In Seattle there are very few Myrtles.

    • Mike, I still don’t know how to recognize the Eastern Red Bud, but I think we may have a lot of them and I love the photos of them that I find online. My Okame cherry has been in bloom for over a week now, and I am hoping that it will have a longer bloom season than the Yoshino trees we used to have at the Alexandria home. My Kwanza cherry hasn’t bloomed yet, nor has the pink dogwood, which typically blooms around Easter time. Probably in Seattle it is not hot enough for crape myrtles. They love heat and usually don’t require watering, which is one of their big advantages.

      As for clinging to the past…remember that it’s not a wholly bad thing to cherish what we have already enjoyed and experienced. Birds may take wing to fly, but they still need to be able to land from time to time, and have solid earth under their feet. They still need nests. That’s how I see the past; it can be a foundation for us, that gives us the strength and courage to move forward. Good luck with the parting-with-material-treasures thing. I am working on that myself, and those things which most represent the emotional ties of the past, are the hardest things to let go.

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