I am till trying to get my self together after some beautiful time in South Africa. One of my host families, the Kellys, live in a charming development that is flush with fruit trees and birds. The plant life is not shabby, either. In their yard stands a lovely lemon tree. Now, I have seen peach trees, apple trees, fig trees, pear trees, coconut trees, and pecan trees, but never a lemon tree.
Of course, I know lemon trees exist! As a child, my friends and I would take it upon ourselves to test the neighborhood fruit trees bounty to see if the fruit was ripe and sweet. How many times on a July morning did I calculate how we were going go on the offensive to claim the prized fruit located at the tip-top of the tree where nether squirrel nor adolescent dare go? Did we need a ladder? Who could be trusted to hold the ladder steady and true while my Converse Chuck Taylor’s maintained a tenuous grip on the bark that would scrape my tender skin like a cheese grader should my balance become lost?
For the fruit of the lemon tree, I wondered one morning, who would casually walk up to the tree and tug at the awaiting oval of sour treasure? After all, there is no sweet victory in the lemon. There are some who eat the lemon without contorting their cheeks and jaws. Others, I imagine, would concoct the perfect martini only to garnish the glass with a freshly cut lemon peel from the fruit of the lovely lemon tree. My roommate, Mac, found comfort in having a glass of lemon juice and water to help balance his biological system. Yet, the lemon tree is not the giver of a casual treat, but rather the beacon of hope for the creative.
See, the lemon tree reminded me about life. There are many reasons for a person to use the lemon tree and its fruit, one must see the potential and value in this jewel of agriculture.
First, lemon can add a tangy flavor to whatever one is cooking. Fish and lemon comes to mind. How about lemon flavoring in cake? I adore pound cake and some cooks glaze the top of the pound cake with a little lemon drizzle. How about lemon meringue pie? Or, a little lemon in your barbeque sauce?
Secondly, lemons are also used in cleaning products. That lemony smell signals to me that a home we have entered is ready for guest. Notice how the advertising of many cleaning products tell us how the power of the lemon should tell us a house is clean?
Lastly, I finally figured out why the lemon tree and its fruit are such a jewel. Our lives are truly like lemon trees. Our lives are beautiful to look at with the ability to bear the fruit of our works and deeds; both good and bad. Our lives are every changing and growing, but sometimes one’s life may shrink and become unrecognizable. That is where a lemon comes in. While it is sour to the taste, it still has enough vitamin C to keep us well. The real beauty in the lemon tree is not how the raw fruit is consumed, but rather how the raw fruit is utilized.
The lovely lemon tree!
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