A Peach Tree Bloomed in Texas

Seven years ago, when I turned forty-five, my mother sent me a note card. On the front of the card, in her distinct cursive, she wrote – Just thought you’d like to know. Inside the card her cursive continued to spell out details of the time surrounding my birth. She wrote – Out on the farm there was a small peach tree. It bloomed out a few days before you came…It was rare for me to leave you with a sitter. Where I was, you were. 

Tomorrow I celebrate birthday number fifty-two. My life continues to let out just a little more line. I guess I would have expected my mother to write before you were born, but I love it that she wrote before you came. The language of visitation, a guest on the horizon of her young life, arriving in the wake of peach blossoms. Rather poetic, huh?

I remember Stegner’s line: “I may not know who I am, but I know where I’m from.” If you’ve read any Stegner, and I hope you have, you know he equated the two – you are where you’re from – this weaving of geography with biography. I live in Colorado now. I’d pay good money for a blooming peach tree at this moment. Even though the calendar says spring, we’ve weeks of winter yet. I will talk to my mother tomorrow on the phone. I’ll try to beat her to it, but chances are good she’ll call me first. My good father will be on the line as well. I will thank them for welcoming me into their lives so many years ago now. For keeping me close in those early days, rarely leaving me with a sitter. For keeping me close still, even though we are states removed.

Where they are, I am. Who they are, I am.

To their grace I am a debtor. This I know.

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8 Comments

  1. Marilyn Yocum on March 21, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Lovely. This post enriches my day, my thoughts, my life.

  2. Michele Morin on March 21, 2019 at 10:13 am

    You are your mother’s book on parenting.

    • abby on March 21, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      so beautiful and so true!

  3. Janna Barber on March 21, 2019 at 10:22 am

    My mother turns 66 the day after tomorrow, and she’s already called me this morning. Thanks for sharing your words with us, John. It’s good to hear about the love of parents, and their children.

  4. Annie B on March 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Lovely. Happy birthday.

  5. Roslyn Bourgeois on March 21, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    I’ve missed THE BEAUTIFUL DUE John. Glad you’re back.

  6. Diana Trautwein on March 23, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Aman. I miss my parents every day.

  7. John Taylor on July 10, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Dear John,

    Through Manning’s books, I found your name like many came. As I reach for 55 years in several months, retired as a middle school English teacher, living with my beautiful wife of 25 years on the rugged Oregon coast, I am “idle” for the first time in many decades. With the passing of my mother only a short time ago, and with Dad gone almost 15 years now, where does one go or do with such time?
    I could fish every day, bought a small boat but that gets full fast. Unsettled? Perhaps but not idle in learning as everyday I play a little softer on my acoustic guitar while I write songs of praise to the Lord only to be interrupted by penning words at times from my “old garments” that lay in the dark closet of my past.

    I asked my wife last night as she returned home from a 12 hour shift at the hospital, what to you want to do with the rest of our lives? She answered as I thought: see the United States and live day to day with no direction or map. Live each day with no clock or commitment. Read books, and hike trails. See life and help people along the way that need help. Live recklessly but abundantly in the Lord. Write poetry and sing songs in small towns. Don’t just appear but be present in every moment. So when I turn “double nickels” in 5 months, we are selling our home, purchasing a silver house with wheels, and taking off into the great unknown with a free spirit to just be a little Steinbeck and Kerouac, but with a Jesus’ heart.

    Thanks for the web site, poetry, letters and the books you write. Perhaps our paths will cross one day or perhaps not, but a connection with our words together now, we have already met in spirit.

    God bless,

    John and Dee

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