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Burning the Past

Years ago a thunderstorm came through southern Kentucky at the farm where my Claypool forebears have lived for six generations. In the orchard, the wind blew over an old pear tree that had been there as long as anybody could remember. The story is that my grandfather was really grieved to lose the tree where he had climbed as a boy and whose fruit he had eaten all his life.

A neighbor came by and said, "Doc, I'm really sorry to see your pear tree blown down."

My grandfather said, "I'm sorry too, it was a real part of my past."

The neighbor said, "What are you going to do?"

My grandfather paused for a long moment and then said, "I'm going to pick the fruit and burn what's left."

That's such a wise way of working with the past. We do need to pick its fruit. We do need to learn its lessons. Amnesia is a sickness and not an asset. But having learned what the past can teach us, we need to pick the fruit, burn what's left, and go on.

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