If you do not invest OF yourself, you’ve no business cultivating expectations FOR yourself.


Once I was given some seeds which were quite rare. No… I didn’t trade a cow for them at the market. At the time I was told, there were only 11 tree specimens in the Western Hemisphere from which these seeds arose. The seeds were from a UC Research Facility in Irvine California acquired on a pre-arranged visit to examine exotic fruit to use in an upscale catered event.

Very excited of course, I planted some of these seeds. Waiting a month, two months, three months…I watered and weeded, watered some more, and in time could not understand why I didn’t just give up because obviously… nothing was happening. For some reason though, I couldn’t give up, wouldn’t give up – curiosity perhaps, or a simple need to see it through. Not wanting to give up on hope itself? Who knows. I found myself rebelling against the idea that the seeds would not germinate as I pulled out every weed for months on end. Then it finally happened! One after another began to sprout VERY slowly. Spiny little plants with cute round leaves about the size of pencil erasers.

If you do not invest OF yourself, you’ve no business cultivating expectations FOR yourself. – Be willing to work for your own joy and happiness. Pushing beyond the point where one feels compelled to give up reveals treasures which otherwise remain hidden forever.

Seven of the twelve sprouted, and although they grew quite slowly, I nurtured them for the ensuing three years. Well, a few of the runts expired, three grew strong, and one was particularly robust. I was very proud of my four surviving plants despite their very spiny nature. Then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, a family member was beset with a serious medical issue and I was drawn away from the plants for extended periods of time. During that time one of the four trees died from lack of water and I decided to try and save the final three by repotting them into bigger pots.

I repotted two of the trees, but I left the biggest tree alone because it seemed too difficult a task to repot it with the time at hand. All three had deep taproots going down through the pots and into the ground. These two repotted plants seemed to do fine for a while yet never really continued to grow as they had before they were repotted. Their pot-bound root system was not quite enough to allow them to really flourish without the deep tap root I had cut to repot them.

If you want things to grow, let the roots go deep and water them! Also have the patience and wisdom to leave well enough alone. – Relationships and family come to mind.

In time, another prolonged period of absence was unavoidable. This time my caring for the three remaining trees came to a complete standstill, and in time the two plants that had been repotted simply expired. Sadly, I checked the ‘nursery’ one day and the two repotted trees were completely brown. The one “big” tree, now all of two feet high after almost four years of growth, was still doing fine. Although not very big, its vivid green foliage seemed to cheerfully rebuke the mute-brown testimony to my absence in the neighboring pots. Still, with one surviving very rare plant, I was feeling pretty good.

Over the next six months this last stalwart specimen endured munching from squirrels, large branches from overhead trees falling upon it, and intense summer heat. After five years I was truly looking forward to seeing it bear fruit for the first time. As luck would have it, around this time, yet again, more compelling family matters pulled me away from my horticultural efforts. Upon my return after extended absence, the tree was sitting perfectly in its shady place, still and content in the breeze – completely brown. It was too late.

The journey had ended – there was nothing to do but clean up the area and make good use of a giant pot. The disappointment was fairly acute after such a long and eventful effort growing this particular type of tree. I felt saddened that I could not increase their meager numbers here in the Western Hemisphere.

Enjoy what you do! – The only satisfaction one can rightly expect in anything – lies within the experience or act of doing. Granted we all nurture expectations, yet everything wonderful beyond the simple act of doing, is essentially icing on the cake. This is where the music fades in with Rolling Stones “You can’t always get…” So…Enjoy what you do!

These days, a decade later, I see two Nurseries in Southern California propagating this particular species to the tune of 90 trees in one nursery, and 1,500 trees in the other. Its fruit has become all the rage in high-end catered creations and chefs are falling over themselves trying to get more access. Leave it to our consumptive desires to create a supply! This was meager solace in my own memories of a heartfelt endeavor. Yet in the end the endeavor did reinforce some fundamental truths and for that I am grateful.

Believe in what you do! – Things have a way of working out which we frequently don’t see from where we are – it’s a time horizon thing. There is calm and peace in knowing you are doing your part.

Growing plants from seed, ideas from the heart, or relationships through time, the best things in our lives are worth our best efforts each and every day.

Tony Pellicane

Hi, I’m Tony. I started with Verity in July of 2013, working with CUHMS in the Servicing Department as the Mortgage Servicing Supervisor. I spend much of my free time competing in flying disc sports, mostly freestyle Frisbee these days. I’ve traveled all over the world and most enjoy traveling to anyplace I’ve never been before (of course there are spectacular exceptions). I enjoy photography, art, dance, science, nature, and flying of any sort. Before moving to Seattle a year ago, I lived in San Diego; before that was Miami, with a stop in Gainesville, Florida on the way to San Diego. I became a huge Seahawk fan in 2009 after being a Dolphin fan from the glory days. I fell in love with the astoundingly beautiful country in the Northwest while visiting friends and practicing freestyle over the past few years and finally decided to move in 2010. Now having lived in three of the four corners of the US, I plan on retiring in Maine years from now. Hope you enjoy the writing.

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