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Gary Nabhan requests career counseling from a pomegranate tree

Pomegranate: Next! How can I help you today?

Gary: Well, I feel kinda out of balance with my work these days.

Pomegranate: Have you requested an appointment with your corporations Human Resources Division?

Gary: That’s just the trouble. I feel that my personal human resources have become too divided. You see, I love science and I love poetry, but they don’t always go together in the workplace. Or to put a finer point on it, they almost never go together…

Pomegranate: That’s why you made a counseling appointment? With me?

Gary: Well yes, because… you are sort of my role model. You have all those sweet red arils in your fruits, but they are all mixed together with  bitter, tannin-rich parchment fragments that most people would never accept were it not the pomegranate arils are so delicious.

Pomegranate: What? You have completely misunderstood my entire life with the silly assumption that sweetness and bitterness and sweetness are all mixed together. They are not at all. The cream-colored bitter fragments you refer to discretely divide the sweet meat of the fruit into six to fifteen different segments. This tannin-rich carpel tissue keeps Insects and birds from devouring the entire fruit all at once—it repels all herbivores except you humans! But if you harvest my fruit properly, the bitter and sweet will remain discretely separated just as if they were in different cabinets in a Kosher or Halal kitchen!

Gary: Well, I am sorry for that misperception. But are you saying that I cannot re-balance my career by using you as a role model?

Pomegranate: You humans always want a SHORT CUT, A QUICK FIX. Come back and talk to me after you have grown some deeper roots…when you’ve been engaged in pollination a few more times. You are such dualistic thinkers… as if equal percentages of sweetness and bitterness could make you a more balanced being!  Those of us who belong to the perennial traditions recognize that it takes many decades to think like a tree. Well, good luck with your short-lived career. NEXT! How can I help you?

 

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