Cherries, Winter Chill and Christmas

Kate Punshon - Monday, July 11, 2016

The air is crisp, cold and the early morning southerly winds of change disturb the overnight solitude. Struggling to hang on, as if life depends upon it, each gusty squall challenges my resolve, tests my fortitude and contests my resilience. The winter tempest drains my strength; weakening my hold.

But look: there’s sunshine! 

Defiantly breaking through the winter clouds, its tender warmth sends a fleeting sense of hope that I can hang on a little longer. That perhaps I can survive. But I know this is a transient illusion.

To let go is to be free, to be freed and to have the freedom to fulfill my next purpose. 

Am I ready?.....   When is it time?.....  Is it when the essence of life, called to dormancy, adopts a reductionist policy to withstand a cold and barren existence?.....  Is there a random plan based on an ancient game of Russian roulette?.....  Or is longevity determined by a genetic tattoo?

Soon, I will be freed without ever knowing the roots of it. I’ll take my place in the rich earthly tapestry along with the other autumn leaves that lay scattered under the cherry tree.Together we will enrich the earth, providing nourishment for a spring re-birthing.But the dormancy cycle must be complete before renewal can be contemplated.  

Only the frame, a naked collection of branches and willowy shoots, can survive the wintry dormancy. It’ s a safety mechanism so trees don’ t freeze. A long chill of about 800 hours between 2-12 degrees F will, ironically, strengthen the fruit spurs to produce an abundant harvest.


Come early spring these spurs will be transformed in to a majestic display of pristine blossoms that seduce the hungry bees to gorge on its sweet nectar. Leaf buds will burst forth creating a protective leafy canopy so the pollinated flowers can swell, turn into fruit and ripen. Progressively, drawing upon the essence of life, that now travels effortlessly through the branches in spring, the cherries evolve. Celebrated in summer and often at their best at Christmas, the hallowed cherry is born out of chilly nights, frosty mornings and the icy winter winds.

 I'm the last leaf now.  I will fall within a day knowing I have fulfilled my role for I'm part of the continuous cycle of life.

A Winter Epitaph

Dormancy is the precursor of renewal. They cannot survive without each other just as we cannot survive without each other.  Each must respect the individuality of the seasons; even when the roots of each is unknown. And we must celebrate the season’s connectivity and ability to produce something unique. The luscious, sweet eating cherry, cheerfully adorning trees on mass in orchards or on a suburban tree, have seduced humanity for centuries with over 50 different varieties. So now, as I fall and commence my new purpose and as you seek shelter from the driving rain, the chilly winds and frosty mornings, this is not the time for scorning wintry weather. It’s a time of homage; for the passing of the seasons will bring the joy of cherries  at Christmas. Red stained fingers and collections of pips and stalks on BBQ, kitchen or on the Christmas table, plates or napkins is an unspoken celebration of the beauty and purpose of winter.

Sue commented on 14-Jul-2016 11:21 AM
Such a comforting and timely article Kate, we all need to rejoice in the change around us and embrace each season for what it brings.
Heather Webster commented on 14-Jul-2016 12:11 PM
Thought and beauty combined- well said Kate
Kate commented on 15-Jul-2016 07:19 PM
Hi Sue For me, winter is a my time for rejuvenating the soul. Soul food,warming and hearty, loved ones sharing a crackling fireplace, the peacefulness of carding and spinning homegrown fleece and creating new seasons winter woollies, story telling & star gazing. Hope you are enjoying your renewal.
Kate commented on 15-Jul-2016 07:37 PM
Hi Heather, It's nature that's thoughtful and beautiful. Surrounded by your extensive orchard and vines mother nature must be constantly whidpering the myths, tales and tribulations of your local landscape. How inspiring.

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