Parable Of The Self-Pollinating Tree

The day was beautiful and clear. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was a gentle breeze blowing for all to enjoy. Peach Tree worked diligently at her tasks shedding and pollenating, germinating and producing but she couldn’t help but notice all of the activity taking place on a nearby Apple Tree. There was always so much activity going on over there.  Birds chirping and bees buzzing busily about. She watched them as they landed and plucked at Apple Trees fruit.

“Hmmm” Peach Tree wondered, “what is all of that activity? They sure look busy over there.” She marveled as Apple Tree flipped and danced with a sign that read. “Help Wanted looking for pollinators to help me pollinate.” Peach Tree continued with her work shedding and pollenating, germinating and producing. She took a deep breath and enjoyed the aroma of her sweet fruit. She gave herself the once over and smiled at how beautiful she was. Her fruit was growing beautifully and it was plenteous.

As Peach Tree continued with her work shedding and pollenating, germinating and producing a bird came by and sat on a perch. “Well good morning little bird.” Peach Tree gleamed.

“Good morning.” The bird chimed then began to pick at himself in grooming.

“So I notice that when you are visiting the other trees over there, Apple, Plum, Blackberries, and Plum even, you pick at their fruit but when you come over here to my tree you only take time to groom. You never eat my fruit. Is my fruit not sweet enough for you?” Peach Tree asked feeling a bit insecure.

The bird bent over and took a nibble of the fruit. “No your fruit is very sweet. Just as sweet as the others but I don’t eat their fruit for nourishment only. I work for the other trees. My job is to carry pollen from one tree to the other. Eating of their fruit is merely payment for my work.”

Peach Tree was a little confused, “They share pollen?”

“Why of course.” The bird responded absolutely.

“Well, why isn’t anyone working for me?” Peach Tree asked.

“Because you don’t need our help. You are what we call a self-pollinating tree.”

“Self-pollenating? What does that mean?”

“Exactly as it sounds – you pollenate yourself.” The bird replied as if it should have been obvious. “You see the work that you are doing almost effortlessly; it’s like second nature to you. You’re shedding and pollenating, germinating and producing without even breaking a sweat.” Peach Tree looked and the bird was correct she was working efficiently even as she talked to the bird her work continued. It was routine and steady. Her process just worked all on its own. “The other trees you mentioned are cross-pollenating trees which means they share pollen. They are dependent on pollinators like myself and the bees, the wind and the rain to transfer pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another.”

“What if I wanted to hire you to transfer the pollen from my anther to my stigma or the stigma of another?” Peach Tree stammered. Now it was time for the bird to look confused.

“You could hire me and I would gladly eat your fruit for payment, but” the bird paused, “why would you want to? Don’t you see,” he pointed at Peach Tree’s process, “you are designed to do your own work. The process is complete in you.” They both watched as the shed pollen fell directly from itself back onto itself. Peach Tree gave herself a closer look over. She noticed that there was a lot of activity happening within her as well. She wasn’t necessarily producing as much fruit as the other trees but her fruit was authentically hers. It was more consistent and uniformed, perfect even. She took a deep breath and breathed in the sweet aroma of her fruit and she closed her eyes and enjoyed the tranquility of her process. She looked over at the bird who had finished his grooming and she smiled.

“So,” the bird asked eagerly, “do you still want to hire me to carry your pollen?”

Peach Tree laughed, “No. I think I got it.” She smiled and watched her process as she continued to shed, pollenate, germinate, and produce effortlessly.

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