Pears, and a Reflection


A few months ago, Morgan and I were driving down a road near our farm when I saw the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen in my life. I stopped the car and we just sat there, admiring the horse. It had a gorgeous blonde mane, with a dark and light coat, lots of contrast, and that gorgeous mane. There were at least a dozen horses up on the hill, different kinds, fascinating. There’s just a small bit of the property by the road that is visible–most of it is over the hill. I’d never seen horses in that spot before, and have never seen them since, but every time I drive by there, I look for that beautiful horse. I didn’t have my camera with me when I saw it, and wished I’d taken its picture.

But back to yesterday! Because bargain boxes of canning apples just aren’t good enough, I remembered yesterday that it was pear time. I know just where to go to get free pears–

–and it’s just a couple of miles and a few turns in the road from my farm.

Strewn all over the ground, they were!

Now, I’m pretty sure this doesn’t constitute pear-stealing. I had indirect permission of a sort to pick them. It wasn’t exactly updated permission, but let’s not get picky about picking. No one else is picking them, that’s for sure. There were lots of sad, bad ones left to rot.

In fact, I didn’t really even pick them. I just scavenged off the ground along with the bees, bugs, and birds. The tree was LOADED, but no need to go there.

Of course, first, I had to pull over to the side of the road, finding a good spot where people could get around if anyone came by on this remote gravel road, and then find a place to get in there. I walked back and forth and eventually decided, whatever, and I just got in there. The brambles tried to stop me. I re-trained the brambles to a fence post then went for it again. I managed to shove myself between the strands of barb wire and only left a handful of hair behind. The day had turned bright, but it had been raining all morning so it was muddy. As I walked, clods of mud splattered up my legs. I stepped on the billion pears, some rotted, and they burst, splattering up my legs, too. I tried not to step on very many pears, but it was difficult to avoid them.

Pears were plunking down off the tree with every turn of the breeze. I couldn’t believe I got out of there without a pear or twenty falling on my head. Of course, one might say that if one has dubious permission to gather pears, one might deserve a pear or twenty on one’s head. But the pear gods were with me.

In all the time I was picking, only one person drove by. The man stopped and called out to me. I thought, great, now I’m in for it! He said, “Do you have horses?” I wondered if he thought I lived there, on this abandoned farm. For all the barb wire, there were certainly no animals. Or, actually, a house to live in. I said, “Yeah, I have a couple horses.” He told me he’d noticed the Sassafras Farm bumper sticker on my Explorer. There is a horse image on it. Then he wanted to know if I wanted to buy some horses. Ha. No, thank you! But I asked him where he lived, curious, as I wasn’t far from my farm and I’m always interested to meet farmers in the area. I told him where my farm was, and he told me where his was, and turns out, he is the farmer with the most gorgeous horse in all the land. He told me he had Halflingers and Paints and Tennessee Walkers. He used to show horses, but has too many now and wants to unload some, and he’s also selling a cart he uses with his Halflingers, and a saddle. We talked horses for a bit–I told him all about my Shortcake–then I told him I might, maybe, come see the saddle sometime as I’m still borrowing a saddle for Shortcake. And I might not be able to resist a chance to actually take a picture of that gorgeous horse he has, and just breathe in the air around his other beautiful horses. But I don’t want to take one home, thank you very much. It was nice to meet another farmer, though, and someone knowledgeable about horses nearby. He wrote his name and phone number on a piece of paper and put it in my Explorer.

I kept picking pears the whole time we were talking. No stopping when you’re picking pears.

In the end, I filled five 5-gallon buckets with pears. The hard part was getting the loaded buckets back to the Explorer, and getting them–and me–back through the barb wire. But I did it!

It’s been a few years since I picked pears in that spot. I went there with 52. He helped me find a place to get over the fence, and he carried the buckets, and I probably wouldn’t have gone at all if I hadn’t had somebody to go with me. Yesterday, I stood there in the beautiful October sun on that West Virginia ridge top, mud all over my legs, buckets filled with pears I’d carried myself, scrapes all over my arms, and thought, This is the difference between me now and me then.

It’s the kind of thing that comes in unexpected moments, when I’m out of the “busy-ness” of most days, and I realize…… I really love my life right now.


  1. bonita says:

    What a haul: 25# of pears and a horse-farm phone number! You’ve come a long way, Suzanne, a long way.!

  2. Old Geezer says:

    First chapter in the next book? Wonderful piece of writing.

  3. GA_in_GA says:

    Suzanne, you have found yourself and you like you! Makes life worth loving!

    Cannot wait to see what you do with those pears. We are still really enjoying your other canning efforts!

  4. KellyWalkerStudios says:

    That’s wonderful. I am proud of AND for you!

  5. justdeborah2002 says:

    I’m happy for your peace and contentedness.
    I want to tell you just how much I enjoy your writing. It is a real pleasure to take a journey with your words.
    I love your posts with multiple pictures and a few quips as well. But when I see a large block of text in one of your posts, at first glance, I know I am in for an experience. (I was going to say treat, but sometimes the posts are heartbreaking, just like life)
    Thank you, for sharing your writing with us all.

  6. Miss Judy says:

    Sometimes we have to go through some difficult times before we realize who we are and what we can do. Reminds me of the scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 “I have plans for you…” we all have a purpose and I am so blessed by how you are using your life to help others.

  7. 4jsMOM says:

    Suzanne, your stories make me feel like I am right there with you. So, this morning, I just went pear picking and had a great time. And as I always say, “A day without CITR is like a day without sunshine”. You are an inspiration to all of us.

    I’m anxiously waiting for your book to be published.

  8. Remudamom says:

    I’ve told you this before and I’ll tell you again!!! You need a cart horse!!! I bet your roads are perfect for lovely drives. If that guy had a Haffie and a cart and a harness you should at least go check it out, maybe a lesson???

  9. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    Let me guess- you didn’t wear pants? Woman!!! LOL

    Seriously, I have read your site for years and just recently started posting. You are now a very strong and independent woman. A role model to show others it can be done on your own! Kudos to you Suzanne!

    Sharon B., VA

  10. Marge_in_Michigan says:

    You go, girl! I love, love, love your blog and give you so much credit for the huge turn-around you’ve made in your life. Yay for you! You’re a role-model for anyone who has been in a similar situation.

  11. gaea303 says:

    Awesome! I love it when people have the courage to change their lives for the better.

  12. emmachisett says:

    “Brambles and barbed wire”…kind of a metaphor considering your past year? Beautiful, uplifting post!

  13. jodiezoeller says:

    I love pears! If it’s sort of abandoned then no one cares if you take the pears. We had two pear trees growing up. Our dogs used to try and eat all the ones that fell to the ground…. but of course couldn’t because there were so many. My Dad would spread some tarps under the trees and shake them (get a ladder up the tree 1st). Good memories… Thanks for reminding me of it.

  14. STH says:

    I’m so happy for you and all the wonderful changes in your life. I’m another one who’s working toward a healthier and happier life. Here’s to lots of courage and strength for all of us trying to move forward.

    This may be a good time to mention what my pseudonym, STH, means: struggling toward hope.

  15. MousE says:

    I’m with Remudamom! Get the horse and cart! =D

  16. mds9 says:

    Horse carts are so much fun to drive. I enjoy them.
    It does fit your business model.

  17. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    Horse & Cart- yeah, then you can drive on the hayrides instead of using a tractor! :happyfeet:

  18. CATRAY44 says:

    Please, go buy uS a horse and cart! 😆

  19. SuzieQ says:

    We love your life now, too! :woof: :woof:

  20. Linda Goble says:

    Yes indeed you writing is so beautiful… Can’t wait to see the pic. of that horse… I wish I was there to pick pears too. I wanted to buy pears herein New York but we had a big freeze in the spring that wiped out the pear crops this year and most of the apples. I was looking forward to canning some. Was that a wild pear or do you think someone planted that trees many years ago? :happyflower:

  21. KarenAnne says:

    You go, girl!

    Hoping for a pic of the beautiful horse.

  22. ramseybergstrom says:

    I love the synchronicity of life. The only car on the road just happens to be the man with the beautiful horse..meant to be. The fact you went back to the spot from years past and recognize the new world you have created for yourself, just priceless. Thank you for sharing with all of us, you do inspire. And I’d like to second the vote on the cart, you would love it!

  23. mintamichelle says:

    Suzanne….I am with Catray44….PLEASE go get us a horse and cart!!! I am loving your new life too!!

  24. RosieJo says:

    You GO, girl!

  25. brookdale says:

    I keep going back and re-reading this post. Love it! It is one of my favorites.

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