Lemon Tree In My House
My wife has a pet Meyer Lemon tree. I call it a pet because
for almost a decade now she has nurtured it with tender loving
care. In return, the lemon tree has produced several fine,
beautifully yellow lemons. She uses at least one lemon every
year to make one of my favorite pies, a Meyer Lemon Fluff Pie
that melts in my mouth with just the right balance between sweet
The pet tree has not always done well. A year or so ago it
only produced one lemon. A friend of my wife told her that the
tree needed to be chopped back and given a special fertilizer. I
was informed of this plan, and I shared my
about the value of shearing our special Meyer Lemon tree. I can
remember as an 11-year-old boy crying while I felt the pain of
the large trees in our yard that my father and his crew cut way
back. It didn't seem fair to me that limbs should be so
mercilessly whacked off a living tree.It was my duty to protect
the lemon tree from the clippers.
While I was on an out-of-town trip, my wife and her friend
took the shears to that special Meyer Lemon tree, cutting away
every branch that had a thorn on it and then some. I didn't
recognize the tree when I got home. Soon, I felt the agony of
That was a year ago. Today, after having been moved inside to
its special spot in front of the sunny southern window, this
tree has four fully ripe lemons waiting to be plucked and so
many blossoms that the house is permeated with their scent. At
least another dozen new, small green developing lemons hang from
that tree. I don't think the tree has any other spots it could
use to bear fruit. We will have all the Meyer Lemon Fluff Pie we
can eat this year.
Take away: when the shears come to cut back
things in your life you hold dear, let yourself grieve the loss
but also look forward far enough to know that the pruning will
bear fruit, maybe more than you can imagine. We get sick, we
lose money or jobs or both, friends and children move away, and
little losses happen that lead to larger losses until whole
chunks of your life are immobilized.
Life is cyclical. Things wax and wane, come and go. Pruning
allows living organisms to retreat and renew their energies.
Farmer's fields lie fallow and deliver bumper crops next year.
The financial markets rise and fall. As do civilizations
families and corporations.
The dark periods give us an opportunity to re-examine and
refocus on what is most important to us, in the case of the
Meyer Lemon tree, producing fruit.
Don't worry about cheering yourself up or trying to be happy.
A recent study showed that a year after two groups, one which
won the lottery and the second group who became paraplegics
after an accident, registered the same level on a happiness
score. It's not a matter of whether you're happy or not.
Happiness comes and goes. What matters is whether you keep
going, producing the fruit you're here to create.
In the meantime it doesn't hurt to have a little pleasure.
You're welcome to use the recipe below and give the Meyer Lemon
Fluff Pie a try.
Meyer Lemon Fluff Pie
1 tbl spoon unflavored gelatin
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup Meyer Lemon juice
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon grated Meyer Lemon
4 egg whites
½ cup sugar
1 9-inch baked pastry shell (we
use Graham Cracker)
½ cup whipping cream, whipped
Thoroughly mix gelatin, ½ cup
sugar and salt in saucepan. Beat together egg yolks, Meyer Lemon
juice and water: stir into gelatin mixture. Cook and stir
over medium heat just until mixture comes to boiling.
Remove from heat; stir in Meyer
Lemon peel. Chill, stirring occasionally until mixture is
Beat egg whites until soft
peaks form. Gradually add ½ cup sugar, beating to stiff
peaks. Fold in gelatin mixture.
Pile in pastry shell.
Chill until firm. Spread with sweetened whipped cream before