The time of ripening

These are delicious Victoria plums from my home county of Kent, the ‘Garden of England’.

Their fragrant smell and juicy, sweet taste remind me of the fruit farm where I grew up. They are extraordinarily evocative.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been able to buy tree-ripened plums. Yet these last few are verging on being over-ripe and need to be devoured (what an excuse).

It’s this time of year when we appreciate the bounty of what has been growing over many months. Where we recognise true fruitfulness and timely ripeness and don’t hesitate to harvest.

Richard Rohr offers some wise words on ripening:

Ripening, at its best, is a slow, patient learning, and sometimes even a happy letting go—a seeming emptying out to create readiness for a new kind of fullness—which we are never sure about. If we do not allow our own ripening, an ever-increasing resistance and denial sets in, an ever-increasing protection around an over-defended self. At our very best, we learn how to hope as we ripen…

If we are to speak of a spirituality of ripening, we need to recognize that it is always characterized by an increasing tolerance for ambiguity, a growing sense of subtlety, an ever-larger ability to include and allow, and a capacity to live with contradictions and even to love them! I cannot imagine any other way of coming to those broad horizons except through many trials, unsolvable paradoxes, and errors in trying to resolve them.

+ Richard Rohr, from ‘A Ripening Heart and Mind’, Daily Meditation, 18th September 2022

~  With thanks to David Turner for sending these words in my direction.