For writers, there is always a story—even a story about something as simple as planting a lemon seed. Since I enjoy taking a second look at simple things to see if there just might be a kernel of Truth or a lesson for me, and perhaps for you, I will tell you the simple story of this lemon tree.
Five years ago, I read an article about the benefits of having living plants in your house. Well, that wasn’t a new thought for me, but what was new was learning of all the values of a lemon plant and how they could be grown from seeds. That idea sent me to research how best to do that.
There are certain items you’ll always find in my refrigerator, and a lemon is one of those. Who can cook without lemons and onions and buttermilk? So, I grabbed the largest, yellowest lemon out of the crisper drawer, sliced it carefully, and prepared the seeds according to the directions. This included rinsing them and drying them with paper towel to get rid of the pulp and the sugar coating which encourages the growth of fungus. Fungus will prevent the seeds from germinating. Then I soaked them for a few hours, which speeds up the germination process, and I spread them over the surface of moist soil in a ceramic pot and covered the seeds with about a half-inch of soil. I carefully misted the topsoil, covered the pot in plastic wrap, and put it in indirect sunlight. The seeds must have been happy and dying to come to life in that spot because I had sprouts and seedlings within a month.
As they grew, I thinned them until there were three healthy plants that grew for the next year to about a foot tall. I had the sense they needed repotting and thought about planting one outside. I called a gardening expert to inquire if it was feasible and how best to do that. He advised against wasting my time and said the tree would not survive weather in the Texas Hill Country even with the best of care. And then he said I would never have lemons on the tree anyway since it was grown from seed. WASTE MY TIME? NEVER HAVE LEMONS? Those comments just poked that beehive of stubborn in me.
Except for one small lemon tree, I had nothing to lose to try an experiment. I transplanted the healthiest looking plant into a larger pot and took it to the deck to enjoy some Texas sunshine. Long story short, five years later and three re-plantings to larger pots and moving in and out according to weather, I have a healthy six-foot tree with thirty-nine lemons on it. It brings me joy every day, especially as there is a hint of yellow now giving hope of what is to come.
Somehow, I think there is a lesson here. There have been people who planted seeds in my life: seeds of faith, seeds of teaching, seeds of encouragement, seeds of hope. I’m sure some of those sowers must have wondered if those seeds would ever grow or amount to anything or if they were just wasting time. And perhaps you have done some seed-sowing with people in your life and you’ve wondered if those seeds would germinate and bear fruit. I know I have.
What I’ve come to understand is that maybe it’s just the sowing that is my task and the watering and nurturing will be someone else’s job. Remember what I was told—YOU’LL NEVER HAVE LEMONS? It was not true.
I’ve come to understand another truth. It is an absolute certainty that A SEED NEVER PLANTED WILL NEVER BEAR FRUIT. So, plant the seed anyway. I’m wondering one last thing. Would it be a matter of my stubborn pride, or instruction, or kindness if I took that gardening expert a lemon pie with a smile on my face and without saying a word?