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Positive Lessons from Late Winter Buds

How fruit trees can offer some life lessons


When I first planted a small group of dwarf fruit trees in my side yard, I learned all I could about their annual cycle of dormancy and growth. There is a remarkable intelligence to this pattern, and one of the most inspiring steps is when the trees start to set buds in late winter.

Explained backwards, the sequence goes like this: In order to have fruit, there must be flowers. In order to have flowers, there must be buds. And in order to have buds, there must be a period of deep, cold, restorative rest.

As March thaws out, the trees awaken to continue the work they began at the end of the previous growing season. Tiny bulges in the branches swell into promising buds, fueled by the nourishing flow that surges as the ground releases the roots from their frozen slumber.

Especially if the trees have been well-pruned, they will have ample energy to direct toward those hopeful, potential-rich buds.

I try to take as many positive cues as I can from my fruit trees. In late winter, I like to imagine myself warming, loosening, turning my attention toward new growth and fresh possibilities. It’s not a one-step process. Before a new idea, attitude or project can fruit, it must first flower. And in order to flower, it must first bud.

And before I can set any viable buds, I have to ask myself: what inspires me to emerge from my winter dormancy? What can I thaw in my thoughts, actions and words?

Watching the trees open and awaken as winter nears its end, I remember again that each step any living thing can take toward growth is a gift to be celebrated and embraced. Who knows what fruits will ripen from that slowly swelling bud?

What encourages you to open up to new growth in late winter?

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