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First Fruits - A Gift that Keeps Giving

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” - Greek Proverb

Here's an article from Tree Hugger about roots that just wont't quit.

Quote:

Among the first wave of immigrants to the New World was an English Puritan named John Endicott, who in 1629, arrived to serve as the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Charged with the task of establishing a welcoming setting for new arrivals upon the untamed land, the Pilgrim leader set about making the area around modern-day Salem as homey as possible.

In approximately 1630, as his children watched on, Endicott planted one of the first fruit trees to be cultivated in America: a pear sapling imported from across the Atlantic. He is said to have declared at the time: "I hope the tree will love the soil of the old world and no doubt when we have gone the tree will still be alive."

The tree did outlive all witnesses to its planting -- as well as generations and generations that followed.

...Through the 20th century, Endicott's pear tree endured as the United States -- the nation it predates by 146 years -- continued to grow up around it. Through several more strong hurricanes, and even a vandal attack in the 1960s, the tree never stopped bearing fruit.

Although its pears have been described as "medium in size, unattractive, and coarse textured", the tree's shortcomings have been more than made up for by its resilience -- a legacy that will carry on even after the sands of time eventually wither its branches. The USDA's National Clonal Germplasm Repository, a seed bank, successfully produced a clone of Endicott's pear tree.

There are few surviving remnants of those earliest days in American history, when European settlers arrived to the wild lands of the New World. But as their centuries-old headstones have weathered and crumbled with time, and their names and stories have become lost to the ages, it's reassuring to know that history is rooted by more than human memory and fading ink -- and that a living monument has been fruitful through it all.