Signs and Wonders

There’s a time for tough love. “You have to earn your keep,” I warned my small, adolescent orchard last summer. “If you don’t produce next year, I’ll dig you up to play Croquet.”  
           Our dwarf peach, apple, pear, and sour cherry trees blossomed this spring—the cherry and peach abundantly. My mouth watered for cherry pie a la mode, the first dessert I imagined in succession of four fruit trees concluding with apple in September.
Dear Reader, my idea didn’t materialize. June’s drought drifted into July. I poked through the net covering the cherry tree to pick three, puny berries, taste enough to know what I was missing.
With long slurps from our garden hose, the other three trees developed fruit. I mulched their roots with our lavender clippings during harvest, fussed over the Red Havens as they turned color true to their name. My first peach crop since thirty years ago, a Red Haven from my dad, I inspected the fruit gingerly to avoid premature drops.
Saturday, after the blessed, overdue downpour Friday night, I found three peaches under the tree, one bruised and split. The tree wouldn’t let her bounty go.
Tickled with my gifts, I carried them up the garden steps into the kitchen and considered my history with Nature’s trinities. Most spontaneously and intimately, our three offspring came to mind. Father, mother, child: an unbreakable band, beyond death. I am three in one: child, spouse, parent. Flesh, soul, and spirit sustained by earth, water, and air.
As earwigs emerged from the damaged peach, time ticked through past, present, and future. This second is the present to become the past as the future becomes present. Continuously, elementary particles work in trinities. Three quarks form protons, neutrons, and electrons to form atoms that produce a periodic table for all humanity: Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasian.
I removed the bruised core, peeled and consumed the salvaged peach. Its imperfect appearance had no effect upon its juicy flavor. I sliced the other two peaches into small bowls, marinated them in blackberry wine from the Smith-Berry Winery in New Castle, Kentucky. 
After our meal of Shepard's Pie, sautéed collard greens, and roasted tomatoes, the chilled peaches concluded our meal like the lingering note of Madame Butterfly’s aria, Un bel di.
Today, Sunday, a surprise visit from our youngest daughter took us to the vegetable garden. We harvested Turkey Craw stringed beans, cauliflower, and tomatoes, a bagful of colors from the primary red, green, and blue.
We concluded our reaping in the raspberry patch where she found a beautiful dragonfly in the top netting. My daughter zoomed in and shot some pictures with her ever-present intelligent phone.
“I think the dragonfly is snared,” I said.
“I don’t think so,” she said.
“They don’t usually hang around this long.”
After observing the insect’s beautiful anatomy, I lifted the net.
“Be careful, Mom.”
The dragonfly flew away.
“Look at it go!” my daughter said.
In God’s design of trinities, there’s a time for such blissful tenderness. Faith, hope, charity. The greatest of these is love. Tough, or tender.