The ciliegio, cherry tree, in the corner of the garden was full of bright red cherries with that deep irresistable glow. We plucked a couple and popped them into our mouths as we walked by. They were wonderful—as sweet as they could be and just about ready for pickin’. Tomorrow would be the day. We could already picture the bowls of delicious fruit covering the tavolo di cucina, kitchen table. There would be plenty to go around—for all of the neighbors and maybe even a bag or two for the men working down the hill. It’s great fun to share nature’s bounty!
The next day was one of those where one thing led to another and before we knew it, long shadows were stretching across the hillside. On our way out to sit for a few minutes and relax in the cool of the evening, we walked by our favorite cherry tree and remembered our promise to pick that perfect fruit. To our amazement, not one edible cherry was left on the tree. The birds had eaten every last one! They know far better than we do when they’re ripe, and today surely must have been the day. They literally flew into action and finished the job. Momentarily saddened by the loss, we walked on over to sit down and to reconsider what had just happened.
No question about it—in our busy-ness we missed the opportunity. It may sound overly dramatic, but the fact is those special finestre, windows, open for a very short time and then they close again, never to return. This year’s gift from nature has gone to the highest bidder, or at least those willing to drop the many “important” things they were doing to take the right action at the right time. Those must be some mighty happy birds right about now (we hope they’re actually sick from over indulging).
After nearly seisanta, 60 years of puttering around in this life, you would think that we could have learned this lesson by now. Wise people have said it, and we have personally experienced it repeatedly: “timing is everything,” and of course, don’t forget the old standard, “the early bird gets the worm” (of course, in this case it’s the cherry). Maybe we’re ready to pause for just a moment in our busy schedules, to pay attention this go around, and finally take that lesson to heart!