There in the woods he met a yogi. “Tell me teacher,” said the young Peachtree, “I am wondering why I bear peaches.”
“Did no one answer you before,” inquired the yogi. “You are a peachtree, and peaches are what peachtrees bear.”
Dissatisfied with the yogi’s answer, the Peachtree then lifted himself up by the roots, and embarked on a long journey to find out why he bore peaches.
“I don’t even like the peaches I peach,” moaned the young Peachtree.
He would later come upon a cropper who hated to crop, and the Cropper sympathized. “Why, oh friend, should we spend our lives hating what we do, and not take up new professions,” he explained. “You to bear the things you desire, and I to become a pilot, for I always wanted to fly.”
“My friend,” rejoined the young Peachtree, “A pilot or a bird? Become that which you believe, but why not be the thing a pilot wishes to imitate, rather than the imitation itself?”
“My friend, you are wiser than your years. But how does a man become a bird?”
“Oh I don’t know,” the Peachtree pondered. “Birds always nest in my branches. Perhaps if you joined me on my journey and climbed onto my branches, we will both find our answer.”
Excited (though the Cropper didn’t really believe he would become a bird), he climbed onto the Peachtree’s branches, and together they continued on their journey.
“Why become a bird,” the Cropper whispered to his friend one evening, “when I can become the wind? Come, let us travel to a distant castro I know which overlooks the sea. It is a village which is eternally windy, being situated on bluffs, and perhaps we will find my answer.”
The Peachtree acceded, and proceeded to the castro. On the way there, however, he became forlorn, because he still did not know the answer to his own question, and wondered if he would ever know why he bore the peaches he bore, which were then of greater size than ever.
When they arrived at the castro, they were surprised to find it in ruins. They were wary to speak with the professor there, knowing that men such as he could lie, or tell an approximation of the truth without being forthright. But he was the only one in that lonely place, and they soon all sat together at the edge of the bluff overlooking the Great Sea, and the sunset beyond it.
The Professor was a straight-talking man, and he welcomed them warmly. He sat and shared his meal with them. When he heard their plight, he sighed genuinely. “My eyes have been so bad, my friends,” he spoke, “that I can no longer see the sunset as beautifully and clearly as I could in my youth. I will tell you a story, if it will help you.”
They hastened him to do so.
“Long ago, when I was a boy,” he spoke, then corrected himself. “No, long ago, when I was a young man who had boyish ways, I took it upon myself to travel the length of a great beach nearby. It was a fantastic beach, and no matter how many people filled it, there was always so much space for each person to be in privacy, so big was this beach. Well, I walked and I walked and finally, after such a solitary time with none other but myself and a staff of driftwood, I arrived at the end of the beach. A lane of water cut off the land and formed a small lagoon, and there I saw two lovers. About the region were signs warning them of the tide. I was titillated but I did not want to be discovered. I stood nearby, just out of their sight.
“’Why do you love me,’ one lover would ask the other, and the other would rejoin ‘Why do you love me,’ and then they would state an infinitude of reasons why they each loved each other so.
“’I will tell you truly,’ I finally heard one of the lovers say, ‘I love you because of who you are and not who you consider yourself to be, for that can have many faults, and not one of them be true.’
“’And I love you,’ the other lover would rejoin, ‘for the very same reason.’
“’We could become ghosts and our love would still be true.’
“’We could be others and our love would still persist.’
“’I love you.’
“’And together, we can be ourselves – no matter who we believe ourselves to be, because our love defines us.’
“And I left the two lovers to the silence which followed them, my friends, and I carried that event with me on my travels forever afterward, to the far ends of the earth. I found these words to be true elsewhere,” the Professor concluded. When he looked, he found the Peachtree and the Cropper in tears.
“Who will love us,” they asked him, for they felt love was more important than whatever else they desired.
“I don’t know,” the Professor said. “That is something you have to find out for yourselves.”
And the Peachtree and his companion left the castro. They wondered why they did not cast themselves into the sea from the bluffs, instead, for they wandered so aimlessly afterward. They could not find someone to love them, but they had each other, and they realized that had to count for something.
So it was one day they arrived at my little garden. I was alone here at the time, because the garden wasn’t a garden then, just a small dirt-patch with shrubs. But I was happy here, nonetheless. When I first saw the Peachtree and his companion arrive, I was astounded – never before did I ever see such a willful being as the Peachtree, or so loyal a companion as the Cropper. They told me their long story, and myself being the storyteller I am, I remembered every word. I felt it would later be important, and I wasn’t wrong. I didn’t know what to do to comfort them, they were so very weary from their journey, so I said to them, “You should stay here in the garden with me. It will be a garden someday, I promise. It will treat you as beautifully as it has treated me, and I hope we will encounter others as beautiful as you have been to me.”
And they trusted me, thankfully, and stayed here for a long time. Finally, a strange miracle happened. The Peachtree released the fruit he long bore on his branches, for they had grown to such a tremendous size during his travels. The progeny dropped onto the dirt, and took root there. They began to grow! And the Cropper did his best to care for the young peachtrees, while they deferred to their father for support. The Peachtree, older and wiser from his travels, was first astounded by his fruit, then obliged them paternally. And so it was that our Peachtree and Cropper found love from the fruits of their journey, and gave us the garden which we so now heartily enjoy. So thank them!
From Mandala I, an epub available on lulu.com, the iBookstore, and Barnes & Noble.