There was an ancient plum tree here when I moved in. I don't know the name, but I know it has wonderful, sweet plums with dark purple skins and bright creamy yellow flesh. It's probably an older variety.
The plums taste best when they ripen on the tree, otherwise the skins taste bitter plus they don't keep long on the kitchen counter. But I don't care. They taste wonderful and I await the few-week window in the summer when I'm happy to have them and share them with my neighbors.
I keep meaning to learn how to can so I can make jelly with them, but they get eaten pretty fast.
Anyway, this tree was half dead two years ago. Now as Miracle Max (Billy Crystal) in The Princess Bride would say, it is "mostly dead". The dead parts have even become home to a family of termites. I read that termites only eat the dead wood so I look the other way. The branches are peeling with big holes in the wood. Every once in a while huge branches break off in my hand when I trim off dead parts.
I've tried to make its golden years as comfortable as possible. I just can't bear to cut it down until it's really done. When it loses its leaves in the fall, I thank it for all the wonderful fruit and sadly bid it goodnight, wondering if it will be back in the spring.
Well, this week the plum has astounded me with a branch of pretty white flowers.
I am thrilled to see my old friend return for another year. And I try to take a little hope from this dear old tree. These will be my favorite flowers for the year, as they say; a flower that blooms in adversity is the most beautiful of all.