A Life Lesson from Pear Picking

Every year in September I help my neighbor pick pears. I relish it as a rare treasure that many don’t get to enjoy and look forward to it much like a child at Christmas time, imagining the mouthwatering sweetness coupled with a crunchy texture, just the way an Asian pear should be.

But each year, I get more daring when I climb the tree, and it is sad that my few encounters with death involve me pear picking. It would be such a senseless way to die, I think, stretching out on a limb and reaching for the big, juicy one, allowing my greed to triumph over my safety.

So this year I was sensible, keeping my feet on the ground and my desires within reach. I found a large one, smooth and flawless, above me, almost within arms’ reach. Nothing stood between my year-long dream and my hand now. I went up on my tippy-toes and snatched it—instantly, a sharp pain shot into my hand. When I finally could release, a large wasp flew away.  I went home, eating my delicious pear, satisfied that my greed hadn’t brought any close encounters with death.

Then after I finished my first pear, it happened—I broke out in hives suddenly starting from my hand and moving up my arm. Then within moments, I was covered in hives from head to toe. It was just one sting, really!

I took two allergy pills then called a friend, and he gave me other types of allergy pills. Hours later the hives went away completely, but my whole arm was swollen from a one sting. And this was how my conversation with my mom went: “So the wasp stung you, and you still refused to let go of the fruit, huh?” What could really I say?

So much for keeping my sights closer to the ground. Maybe, it is okay to climb high, gain a larger perspective and really see what it is I am reaching for. . . .

Anyway, hopefully, I’ll be picking pears again this afternoon.


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