Anchored in the earth the smooth, slender trunks are bound to metal posts until they are thick enough to stand alone and strong enough to support the fruit bearing vines above. A covering of thick plastic added further protection for the young trunks from insects, unforeseen danger or adverse weather. With the binding and the covering the juvenile roots dig deep into the soft soil until the depth of their growth allows for the freedom to stand on their own.
These roots share the soil with ones that came before them. Only inches away, each tender trunk replaced a thick, knotty, beyond bearing fruit trunk that has been cut down yet has it's roots still anchored in the earth. Each stump is five maybe even six times thicker than its replacement. Yet they share the same soil. One growing from its nutrients. The other displaying the maturity of what came from year after year of growing deeper and standing stronger.
The presence of the stumps, seasons past their harvesting years, speak of their legacy to the generations to come, to those near enough to hear, close enough to grow, roots adjoined below the surface of what is seen.
"You, also, will grow big and strong someday like me. With season after season your roots will reach deep as long as your shoots above keep reaching up toward the sun."
They also speak of things to come . . .
"The fruit bearing years will come to an end. You too will be cut down but as long as your roots remain grounded your story of strength and generous yielding season after season will produce a legacy. A legacy of encouragement. A legacy of perspective of purpose as you endure season after season the slow growth, the joyful harvesting, and the pain of the pruning.
"My legacy is all I have left to give. My seasons of fruitful giving have come to an end but yet here I remain . . . for you."
Several aisles away lie row after row of mature, strong, bold trunks still earthed with expanding green shoots stretching toward the same warmth and life giving light from above. These shoots are also clothed with a bounty of pea sized produce maturing throughout the season preparing for harvest. The fruits are upheld by gnarled, weather beaten, coarse trunks that have endured season after season. Their strength grows deeper with each crop and do not depend upon the supports that the younger, more tender and smooth trunks require.
These trunks speak a legacy of their own:
"Only with time will you become as strong in foundation as I am. With an understanding of the suffering of the seasons and the changes they bring, you, too, will grace the vineyard with ceaseless production season after season. My days are numbered, as are yours, and soon my legacy of abundance will cease and I will become the stump. Replaced by the young ones to share my story, leaving a legacy that can only be heard by those who are planted near, whose roots intertwine with mine."
Knowledge is knowing the fate that will befall every grapevine. Wisdom is in accepting that fate. Humility is in the production of the fruit, for the fruit produced by the younger trunks is the same as that produced by the older, more mature ones regardless of the number of their years planted deep.
But the legacy of the stump will remain the same for both after their seasons of harvest have come to an end.
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