Once it was widely believed prunes grew on trees. The confusion was understandable, given how many plump plums and wrinkly old prunes there were around. Both could be found practically anywhere, but for the most part, the plums clustered together in sun-drenched orchards while prunes pressed tightly against the orchard gates looking in. There they might remain hour upon hour intently watching individual plums as if waiting for the precise moment of their fall. How full to bursting with the sweet life did they hang, those plums, so blithely indifferent to the miserable end that prunes were positive lay in store for them: a sudden fall, followed by the revolting decay of all that mouth-watering young flesh. Never to know the glory of being plucked in one’s prime instead and dried into a wise old prune. Had these heedless plums, so entranced by every fleeting moment in the sun, no notion of the rewards promised by the prunish life? They must! Only perverse attachment to the pleasures of this world could explain why plums paid absolutely no heed to the counsel of prunes, as if it was of no interest whatsoever to a luscious plum that the prospect of its fall had drawn so many of the shriveled persuasion to gather in wait. A plum’s fall was certainly of great interest to the prunes. So much so that they felt it their duty to focus on nothing else. News of any plums about to burst with life’s radiant joys instantly passed from one puckered prune to another. In no time at all, the familiar crowds had shown up once again at the orchard gates to urge upon all plums the folly of their ways before it was too late. As they pressed there together, eager to a prune to announce the price every plum would pay for its heedless high spirits, the intensity of their own commitment to the saving of plums they believed were headed for a fall often caused these promoters of the wrinkled life to grow a little warm around the edges themselves. Soon moist, sticky patches started to appear on many. And after a certain point, it could be nearly impossible to separate prune from prune in the heat of these vigils, when they stuck to one another in ceaselessly reproving every plum that ignored their words of warning. Stewing in the juices of their life-wisdom.
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans