This piece first appeared on Goodreads.com, May 31, 2013
When I was a little girl, I had the same dream over and over again. I dreamt that the big trees in front of our house were cherry trees, and I could climb up into their branches and eat my fill of cherries. Bing cherries have always been expensive and I guess I never got enough of them, which explains the dream.
Be careful about dreaming, because my dream came true. For the past 22 years I have had the tree of my dreams. It was about 35 years old when I bought the house. It sits 5 feet from my back door, and it is huge (The trunk is 8 feet around) and it produces a vast amount of cherries.
They are sweet cherries and taste like Bing cherries. Oh, I do love the cherries. But, I have a love/hate relationship with the tree.
First it blooms and attracts swarms of bees. The bees don’t really bother us, as they are so busy with the blossoms. But then the blossoms drop their leaves and those little white leaves actually blow into drifts against my back door. There they sit ready to be tracked into the house.
Then comes the crunchy phase; that’s the phase we’re in right now. All of the blossoms that didn’t get pollinated fall to the ground, and they too drift against my back door.
The cherries will be ripe by the Fourth of July. The tree will be full of squirrels, and I swear they target us with their cherry pits.
The falling fruit is the biggest mess of all. I can’t even explain how bad that gets. Just think about 10,000 over-ripe cherries being smashed in the ground, by your back door. We can sweep and hose off the deck and sidewalk, but we have to crawl around and pick their rotting little corpses out of the grass.
I sit under it every day of the year, when I take the dog out. Its vast size attracts so many birds and squirrels, to my great delight. It shades the back of the house. I have nursed it through several bad seasons and cut off many dead branches.
I’ve watched huge branches fall in bad storms, and crash into my deck, house or garage. A few years ago I paid a tree trimmer $800, to cut it to half its height, because it looked like high winds were about to rip it in half. It has cost me untold hours of vacuuming and scrubbing. Yet, I still love that tree.
Now, I sit here picking some crunchy dead cherry blossoms out of my hair and I hope for a poor cherry season. I hope that the late snow storm killed the blossoms before the bees had much of a chance. I hope that I will have to buy my cherries this year.