Hanging On

Just a few days ago in my neighborhood I walked by this apple tree. We had already had one snowfall and there wasn’t a leaf on the trees but these apples had somehow held on. If you look closely you’ll even see a red one up close to the high balcony. It made me smile. Harvest time was long gone. Certainly I didn’t think these apples were very delicious – in the month of December! What had made them hang on for dear life. Was it dear life? Or was it a sort of death, this clinging on to the twigs where they had once been blossoms, tiny fruit, ripe apples and now – now what were they exactly?

This sight made me think about times I had hung onto things that had outlived their natural cycle, their natural life. Objects, clothes, books (a really hard one) dreams, ideas, but hardest of all, relationships. It’s hard to let go of people even if they are a damned pain in the neck. It seldom occurs to me that perhaps I am the damned pain in the neck that is causing conflict. How awful it is that one only gets insight so late in life. I certainly could have saved myself and some unfortunate others a lot of grief if only I had taken seriously the wonderful Zen saying, “Let go or be dragged”.

To let go is scary and sad but it is an act of liberation too. I really wonder about those apples and when they are going to “let go”. Tomorrow on my walk, I’ll go that way and see what happened to them.

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