They are especially beautiful this time of year, the two tall apple trees. Healthy, mature and overflowing with fruit. For the past several years I have biked past these trees watching the branches move from an explosion of spring blossoms to a lattice suspending ripe bright crimson globes. The passage of the seasons is beautifully expressed in these two trees.
As the temps grow cooler and the fall days shorten, my longing on two wheels knows no bounds as I pass these trees. Everything about them speaks to my senses as I pedal slowly past. My head swims with metaphors that populate my thoughts. Each day the branches are further made low by the ripening fruit and the colors deepen as sunset comes earlier. So much abundance held aloft in these branches! Nourishment, flavor, color, aroma – the trees swell with riches.
And then, invariably, comes heartache as this bountiful harvest falls to the ground, untended, uneaten and unappreciated. My reveries turn indignant. What a waste! What a loss. Visions of pies dashed once again.
Year after year, I ponder my options. My bike jersey has only three back pockets. What if I slip in the ditch that divides the road from the trees? (Those biking shoes are tricky.) All that effort for only 3-4 apples… Perhaps a late night covert op in the car instead? What if I get caught? What if they are angry? In this way, each autumn passes with nary a taste of even one of those apples. This conundrum has me all out of sorts.
Recently it dawned on me, why not simply ask?
Last Saturday was gorgeous and I was out for a drive. I have recently been thinking about asking for what I need in life, for claiming my truth and standing tall. Through writing, meditation, wise council and tears, I realized that not asking was really a reflection of my self-worth. Or, more aptly, the lack thereof. Fortunately, most recently, ‘Just who are you to ask?’ became ‘Ask, dear one, ask. Are you prepared to receive?’ A change in perspective, a change in my world.
As the car passed the turn to the laden, lovely trees, my inner self threw on the figurative brakes. Enough was enough! It was time to take a deep breath and ask for abundance. One U-turn later I was headed directly toward a moment of truth. I pulled in the driveway and took a deep breath. The trees were more glorious up close than I imagined.
The face that appeared in response to my knock was kind and curious, a woman casually dressed and going about her day.
“My name is Elizabeth and I live not too far from here. Your apple trees are lovely and I wonder, might I pick some?”
There it was. Out there. Honest and direct. I had asked for what I wanted and the rest was out of my hands.
Her face lit up and to my delight she chirped, “So nice to meet you, Elizabeth. Of course you can pick apples. There are more than I can eat and, oh, while you’re at it, would you like to use my long-handled apple picker? The best fruit always seems to be up high in the branches. I just bought it last week. Here, use it. Enjoy! Take as many as you want. Really, I mean it.”
I gleefully gathered the freely offered tool and made my way toward the harvest of finest treasure. Over my shoulder she added this benediction.
“Oh, and Elizabeth, thank you for asking.”
And so, there I was beneath these glorious trees, filling my sacks with more than I could carry yet I made barely a dent in the available harvest. Fifteen minutes later, the apple picker outside her door and a polished apple left on the front step, I made my way home, smelling the apple crisp already, my mouth watering.
The lessons of the day were not lost on me, friends, the three-fold possible gifts of simply asking:
Gift #1 – The answer is ‘No’ – She could have said no. If so, so be it. I had claimed what I wanted and given it voice. Had she said no, I would have wasted no more mental energy and simply enjoyed the seasonal show, seeking other trees to satisfy my dessert and fruit needs. No more rumination, the question would have been answered, a gift in itself.
Gift #2 – The gift to the giver – I had spent so much energy imagining an angry response – a worst case scenario – that her utter delight took me a bit by surprise. Not only was she generous, she thanked me for asking. What gifts have I thwarted in my hesitation to ask?
Gift #3 -The answer is ‘Yes’ – In this instance, the answer was not only yes but YES, MY DEAR, YES! PLEASE DO! HAVE MORE. I received more than apples and more than her blessing. I received also her kindness and her generosity. What abundance have I missed by neglecting to ask?
So ask, my friends, ask! Ask again and again! It takes a wee bit of courage but I can tell you it’s worth it. Perhaps more importantly, YOU are worth it. Claim what you want and be prepared to receive. The gifts begin to flow the moment you ask.