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The Cherry-Lemon Tree


The Cherry-Lemon Tree

By Kalen Marquis

Once upon a time, in a not so very far away land, there lived a warm, wonder-filled boy named Ryan.

Ryan was a friendly, caring guy who did all kinds of friendly, caring things for others. Sometimes though, like all of us, he got a little sad and blue. I don’t mean the colour blue. I mean feeling blue.

Whenever he was feeling really blue, Ryan would slump outside and plunk himself down under the big, tall cherry-lemon tree out back.

This was a quiet, shady spot where he could sit, think, and watch the fidgety flecks of sunlight dance on the shady grass as the leaves rocked and rolled on the branches above.

Ryan had done this for as long as he could remember, which was as long as he lived in this house (which was as long as the entire eight years he had been alive).

Ryan never thought about this tree much when he wasn’t feeling sad and blue, but when he was, there was nothing he loved more than his special spot under his cherry-lemon tree.

Ryan did not realize how very special, how incredibly unique, his cherry-lemon tree was. This, after all, was the only backyard he had ever known. People seldom marvel at the things they have always known and expect to be there.

So there Ryan sat, one blue-feeling day, watching those fidgety flecks of sunlight and looking up into the trees, seeing all the bright yellow lemons.

“Lemons,” he thought. “Yuck! I hate lemons They are so sour and they make your tongue twist and your lips pucker. Double yuck! I hate lemons. My life is sour like a tongue-twisting, lip puckering lemon,” he thought. “Yuck, yuck, yuck!”

Ryan sat there for a long time, doing some sour, tongue-twisting, lip-puckering thinking about his lemon life and began to feel sadder and sadder, bluer and bluer.

“What should I do?' What could I do to feel better?" he grumped. "Why is my life as sad as a lemon?” he mused. "Think, think, think." He was so tired of thinking. "Could thinking ever fix it?” he wondered.

Just then Ryan noticed a teeny-tiny speck of red. It was a brilliant fire-engine red—but it was way too small to be a fire engine! “Fire engines don’t grow on trees!” he thought shaking his head.

Ryan looked again. And again.

Yes! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flash of bright cherry red! He could hardly believe it but ...

It was a sweet, juicy, plump, red cherry!

It was the first time he had ever seen one on this tree. He had thought this was just a lemon tree. He never imagined that it could grow cherries!

“Cherries,” he thought. “Mmm. How come I’ve never seen them before? Did they grow in a different season? When did they ripen? Had they been there all along?” He was not sure. He was stumped. Then amazed!

Ryan looked away. . . but not for long! He didn’t have time. The more he looked, the more sweet, plump, red, juicy cherries he saw. They were small. . . but they were here, there, and everywhere! On the same tree that gave such sour, tongue-twisting, and lip-puckering lemons!

Ryan could hardly believe it. . . but it was true!

He sat there completely bewildered, a grin spreading across his friendly, caring face.

The longer he sat still, resting and reclining beneath his cherry-lemon tree with its branches rocking and rolling above, the more sweet, juicy cherries he was able to see and the less tongue-twisting, lip-puckering lemon thinking he was able to do. He felt a shift from all the thinking in his brain to a feeling of peace and relaxation inside his body.

The lemons were still there, looming just as brilliant, yellow, and sour as ever, but that did not bother Ryan at all. In fact, he liked the look of them now.

Ryan knew that there would always be lemons (and lemon thinking!) but he did not have to pick or eat them (except maybe for some added flavour in a recipe or in lemon meringue pie!). He knew that he would always be on the lookout for those teeny-tiny but ever-so-sweet and tasty cherries. “I can’t get too much of a good thing,” he mused. “Or could I?” he giggled to himself.

Ryan, the warm, wonder-filled guy, fell asleep right there while the fidgety flecks of sunshine danced on the grass and the sweet, plump, juicy red cherries and bright, yellow lemons rocked and rolled on the branches of his very special cherry-lemon tree.

© 1991 Kalen Marquis