Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Time Cone - Apricots!

Sally got a wonderful surprise the other day. She found a tiny seedling coming up in one of the pots where she was attempting to sprout some apricot seeds. This seedling isn't just any apricot, for it represents the second generation derived from the McMillin Family Tree in Grand Junction, Colorado. That stately tree just across the driveway from the house Sally grew up in provided an unbelievable bounty of tasty apricots so juicy that they always managed to drip down your chin! Eight years ago, as Sally's parents were moving out of the old home place, Sally's sister collected a couple dozen apricots from this grand tree and shipped them to us in Washington. Though they arrived too mushy to eat, Sally had the idea of saving the seeds to grow her own trees.

Sally managed to get five seedlings from those twenty-four apricot seeds. As time passed, some prospered and others did not. Three of the seedlings were eventually transferred to pots and transported to Spokane when we moved here in 2004. After 
the first winter in our back yard, one tree died, leaving us with two slender 
descendants of the Family Tree. They grew taller and stronger each year until finally, last summer, we had our first tiny apricot harvest. We enjoyed the fruit, and saved the seeds, hoping to foster a new generation. Sally kept the seeds cool and dark through our long winter, and then placed them in pots as spring arrived. She had almost given up hope when her surprise seedling made its appearance just a few days ago. Sally will tend and nurture it in hopes that it will eventually stand next to the other two descendants of the McMillin Family Tree.

In my post on May 5, When Dad Changed the Future, I wrote of the time cone:
Though the concept is not easily summarized in a blog post, the visual image I would place before you is of an hourglass, placed on its side. There is no sand in the glass... it is time which is flowing. One end of the glass represents the future, and the other the past. The narrow center of the glass is the here and now. But here is the surprising thing about the time cone: Rather than the future flowing through the here and now into the past, the current is reversed! It is the past which flows into every present moment. And it is from the here and now that the future, until now indeterminate, bursts into possibility.
I would like to explore this concept further, using Sally's apricots as the central image to guide our inquiry.

You read above that the past flows into every present moment. Sally's apricots embody the past in countless ways: There is the genetic history of the apricots, tracing back through the Family Tree to its predecessors, back to the origin of flowering plants, back to the first plants which sent down exploratory roots on dry land. There is the history of human horticulture, reaching past all the Johnny Appleseeds and Sally Apricotseeds who planted fruit trees so that we might enjoy their bounty. There is the geological history of this place, Spokane, where otherwise unrecorded wind, snow and rainstorms wrought rich volcanic soils from the basaltic aftermath of Earth's flowing eruptions. Indeed, in our apricots, the whole history of the planet, the solar system, and the Cosmos have come to bear. We begin to understand that the past is not behind us, for all of the richness of history is flowing into every present moment.

You read above that it is from the here and now that the future bursts into possibility. In the moment that Sally decided to raise and nurture her seedlings, each apricot hanging from every limb of her two graceful trees became possible. The juice that will drip down the chins of those who eat these luscious delicacies in July became possible. The memories of apricots that will enrich the lives of the children of the eventual residents of this house became possible. Those children and the stories of apricots they will tell are not "out there, somewhere" coming at us. They are becoming possible in the decisions and actions of countless others, known and unknown, who are in this moment making their reality possible

The past flows into each present moment, and informs our decisions and actions. Those decisions and actions, for good or ill, create the future into which we will live. This is the time cone. It is a concept that recognizes the awesome and awful power we have for good or ill. It is a concept that allows our decisions to be shaped by our conceptions of Good, or Truth, or Life, or God, but they remain our decisions nonetheless. If salvation, peace, and prosperity are to be in our future, they will be so as a result of our actions in the here and now

In this light, maybe you've read enough for today. Go out and do something! The future is in your hands....


  1. I bought myself a little 4" pepper plant, which I potted a few weeks ago. It is a 'Mariachi Pepper' plant, which has since grown to be half again as tall, and I see blossoms starting to grow on it! Though I doubt the peppers will pick up guitars or trumpets, I bet they will accompany mexican food nicely, and may even make my mouth sing. =D

    Something else that I value, in looking toward the future in the present, is to revel in the present, to smell the air after or as it rains. To go get a little muddy, get some bug bites to feed the next generation of bats on mosquitos, if it means realizing the beauty of your surrounds, the smallness of yourself on the planet. I love going to the ocean for that reason, I think. I got a crab burger at this neat fish market the last time I went. Just think of all the tiny planktonic creatures filtered to make the meat I ate. mmmm.

  2. So today, thanks to you, I'm pondering how/if Fiat Motors' "apricots" might burst into future possibilities of eco-justice and socio-economic equities for US and our global neighbors ;~]

    I like the way this made me think and feel as an agri-cultured grandson/son/husband/father too! THANKS!