It’s taken me years to move around easily on the grounds of Lescure and to this day I don’t like going on walks that take me too far from the château.
I prefer to keep the house in sight and pay the fruit trees underneath the terrace a visit, thinking of them as friendly counsel, the memory keepers of all the people who have passed through here before us. In the silence I understand why I like the orchard. This is one of the places where I can feel that there is something beyond the visible. Here I know that the energy of days past is never completely lost. It finds a way to communicate with you if you are willing to listen.
While I’m wandering around, I think of our desire for a hundredfold harvest and to pick as much fruit as we can. I hear the echoes of softly raised voices around the trees, some from strangers in Lescure’s past, others from ourselves. Thomas and I debating when enough is enough.
This year’s harvest has been very modest, making us appreciate the blessings of nature just a bit more. A highlight were the bright yellow fruits (six!) on the quince tree. We discovered the heavily neglected tree a couple of years ago and have been gently pruning it each winter. It has been offering us bowl-shaped pink flowers and fuzzy leaves, but no crop until last fall.
Four knobbly fruits snapped easily from the tree, I left two that weren’t quite ripe, thinking I could take these down later. Except I never did. Seeing these solitary fruits on the tree took me back to our trip to Japan last October where we learnt about kimamori.
GUARDIAN OF TREE
Kimamori means tree warden. The word refers to the custom of leaving a single persimmon fruit at the top of the kaki tree around the transition from autumn to winter. This fruit is imbued with thanks for the year’s harvest and prayers for a rich harvest the following year. You also leave it as a share for the birds and insects. I love the wabi aesthetic of this tradition and the sense of reciprocity in valuing the natural world.
Our quince fruit may lack the warm red-orange colour of the persimmon, it still is a jewel in Lescure’s late autumn scenery. And we now know when to give the trees a rest.