rotting on the branch


Out on the mail route, I’m always checking things out.

I can’t help it.

I can’t stop.

I keep my eyes open while I’m driving around. I watch and I learn.  Whether it’s a mama bear and her two cubs…a bunch of deer….wild turkeys…a new satellite dish…piles of trash that weren’t there yesterday outside the trailer with the funky smell…it doesn’t matter…I see it all.

Lately, I’d been watching a bunch of fruit trees.  There are apple trees and it looked like maybe a pear tree…and one close to the drive that I was sure was a plum-tree just loaded with what looked like the most delicious plums I’d ever seen.

At this point in the mail run, I would have eaten about an hour previously or so…and I’m usually getting hungry again.

Those plums looked so good.

And they were ready to eat.

And I was hungry.

But these plums weren’t mine.

I’m hungry…but I’m not a thief.  I’m not going to get out of my well-marked Mail Jeep and gorge on these plums in broad daylight on one of the few paved roads in our area with any traffic without asking permission first.

That is not how I roll.

So, day after day, I would stop before I made my turn out into the main road, looking at these beautiful purple plums, thinking, “I’ve got to ask those guys if I can eat one some of their plums…they look so good.”

Yesterday, I drove by them again and realized that it was too late.

The plums…my plums…were rotting on the branches.

They hadn’t harvested any of these ripe plums.  Every single one of the plums that I had obsessed over was rotting and shriveling on the branches of that tree.

Oh, no.


Now, in their defense, they may have been growing prunes.  It may be that it was actually a prune tree and my eating the plums before they had a chance to become what they were destined to be would have really upset the apple cart. It may be that this tree wasn’t what I thought it was.  I might have had expectations that were unrealistic and unfounded.

I’ll call it a prune tree if it allows me to have some peace over not getting a ripe plum.  I can do at least that much.

Now, of course, I couldn’t leave it alone. I couldn’t let a tree full of rotting fruit just be a tree full of rotting fruit.

For the sake of amusing myself, I had to find some kind of deeper meaning to all this. There had to be some kind of deeper meaning behind not getting to taste a delicious plum.

I arrived at the conclusion that I have aspects of my life where I suppose I’m “rotting on the branches”,too.

I live a rich and varied existence…I am in full bloom and fruitful…I rise up to greet the morning and run into the sun.

I thrive.

But there’s a hidden part of me that has abilities and dreams and deep, deep longings that I think I’m letting rot on the branches.

I don’t live a life of quiet desperation….I think I live a life of lazy expectations.

Nobody is watching for when the fruit is ripe, either.  I’ll be a prune before any one notices.

So maybe it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to monitor my tentative approaches to finding my own bliss.

Maybe, like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I just need an angel to calm me down and say, “Take it easy…here’s what it was all about…. all along.”

“Now eat your prunes…it’ll help you go to the potty…”



About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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