The cat sat and watched from his perch in the window. Watched in wonder at the spectacle before him. Back and forth, the chicken went. Back and forth across the road. Each time, narrowly missing oncoming cars.
This went on and on, car after car, and the chicken always ended up safe on the other side.
Clearly, thought the cat, something is not right here. Chickens aren’t all that bright, but this is a new low. And yet, somehow, the chicken has not been hit. It must be up to something.
Meanwhile, the chicken continued. Back and forth. Often with a honk and a squawk.
Finally, the cat could take it no more. He leaned out the window and yelled “Why are you crossing the road over an over again?”
The chicken stopped and thought about it for a minute, while cars dodged around her.
Finally, she squawked back “I don’t know, what is this some kind of joke? Is the punchline orange you glad I didn’t say banana?”
The cat just shook his head and went back to sleep.
It is a sacred duty, handed down the family in an unbroken line for generations.
The tree is in our care.
The tree must be protected.
Neither blight nor pests allowed.
We feed and water according to a plan set out by our forefathers. Once or twice a decade we prune severely, other years we use judgment. Once or twice in each caretaker’s life, we move a graft to a new rootstock. We treat the grafts like their parent tree, knowing they can replace the original at any time.
Today the orange grove extends for acres, and presiding over it all is a grand tree with a trunk large enough that you can’t reach around it.
The grove has often survived flood and fire. This year, both nearly at once.