In the midst of this intentional time of rest and healing in my life, I have been gardening, as I am able. Sometimes even the garden needs more than I have to offer. I have days when I feel overwhelmed by my own lack of knowledge about how to care for the trees, how to deal with challenges to them, how to help them thrive. Margy reminds me that it is a learning experience.
So the latest “too much” were these sores on the peach tree trunk. Our friend Mihku noticed them, and suggested they were peach tree borers. The usual remedy is to cut out the wound with a knife and poke the caterpillars manually. But I couldn’t seem to find any clear culprits, and truthfully, the trunk is so small, I was afraid to do too much.
I researched what I could on the internet, and in my Holistic Orchard book. Sometimes that is overwhelming, too–to read about everything that can go wrong. Beneficial nematodes were mentioned as a possible solution for peach borers, but the only options for purchasing online were in sizes meant for an orchard, not a solitary tree. I did find a product locally with Bt in it, but that was said to work better on leaf and surface eaters, rather than trunk borers. Perhaps it is just me, or perhaps it is these times, with the overlay of such despair growing in so many realms, but this problem just felled me, sent me to my bed.
Eventually I did get up again. I prayed for the tree. I prayed for help. I consulted my spirit stone, a beautiful rock with a hole through its center, that I use as a pendulum for guidance when I feel uncertain or overwhelmed. I pulled out some products that we use for the orchard, and consulted the stone about whether any of them might be helpful. Then I noticed that the very simple label on the bottle of Neem Oil mentioned the concentration to use in the case of borers. Okay. The stone agreed. So I made up a small quantity–1 teaspoon Neem Oil to 2 cups water, with some dish soap added as an emulsifier. I also felt like adding a little compost, in hopes of introducing some beneficial microorganisms. I washed the mixture over the trunk with a rag.
Somehow, calling for help from the Spirit, and then taking one small step to do something got me going again. It might not work. The tree is so beautiful and healthy, and has grown so well this first year, that it would break my heart if it is killed by this wound. We’re not a big orchard. Each of our trees is precious and the only one of its kind in our yard. I had also recently purchased some tall stakes, so I staked the tree (not yet in the photo) and also put up stakes for the mulberry tree, the apple tree, and created a border of stakes and string for the raspberry bushes, which are growing fruit now.
I know so little about how to care for the trees, the plants, the creatures of this yard, this small circle of the earth. Meanwhile, we human beings are doing so much harm to all beings, and it may be too late to heal. Meanwhile, the powerful seem bent on destruction and abuse and greed. Meanwhile, so many wounds everywhere coming into the light. I don’t seem to have any answers these days. I am trying to be quiet, to attune to the deep River of Life, to stop pushing, acting, deciding… I am trying to wait for the River to move me. I am trying to learn how to care for the garden. I am reminded of some verses from the Tao Te Ching (translation by Stephen Mitchell.)
Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
May the River of Life have mercy on us.