This apple is like a jewel,
With every shade of red and green
And a perfect shape.
What a miraculous fruit.
The owner of an orchard came to visit me one day. He kindly remembers me every year with the best of his crop. As we shared a lunch, the talk turned to fishing. He told me that he had once had a great love of fishing, but that he now had little time for it. “I am an impatient man,” he told me.
I replied that I thought him very patient. After all, not everyone can plant trees and tend them until they bear good fruit. He insisted that there was something to do every moment and that his orchards needed constant attention. “This year’s apples are a bit smaller,” he apologized. “I could have made them bigger by thinning the trees. It takes a man an entire day to prune a tree properly, and with over 500 trees, you can imagine the difficulty and expense of the task. So I let the trees grow as they wanted, and was still able to send my crop to market.” The apples were sweet, of course, and not nearly as small as he said they were.
Those who follow Tao say that all things happen in their own time. What is lazy and what is hard work? Those who follow Tao say to follow nature. That requires patience. By knowing when to let the trees grow as they wanted, the orchard owner still had a good crop.