I have a ginkgo tree in my front yard. It was not my doing; it came with the house. If you’re not familiar with this type, it’s sometimes referred to as the maidenhair tree. The only surviving species in the division Ginkgophyta, it goes back at least 270 million years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginkgo_biloba). The probable reason there is only one species left is the ginkgo has a reproduction strategy that is, at the least, out of favor. It produces an abundance of small orange fruit that smell terrible to humans; it’s something close to rotten meat. Also, the trees tend to drop their leaves all at once. The leaves turn from a nice green to a bright yellow, and then they’re on the ground. I’ve gone to work sometimes to come home in the afternoon and find that 90% of them fell while I was gone.
Such was the case this year. So I spent the better part of Monday afternoon raking leaves while trying to figure out how to deal with a bumper crop of the fruit that had virtually covered that part of the lawn. It’s always a lot of work. And yet…
It’s a beautiful tree, tall and healthy, the kind that would inspire Robert Frost (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53088/the-sound-of-trees). It has a noble linage, having originated in China, where is it used in traditional medicine. And if you can get past the smell, the ginkgo nuts can be eaten. I think its idiosyncrasies give it a kind of personality.
So, as I’m raking, I got to thinking how this is a good metaphor for relationships (not that I have any great expertise in that area). No one is perfect. There are undesirable, or even bad, qualities along with the attractive ones. But if you really care about someone (or something), you work it out. Then celebrate the good as you overcome the bad. The result can be a very satisfying relationship.
Photos: Mid-summer leaves, fall leaves, and a ginkgo fossil (from Wikipedia)