On my first move-in day my mother brought out a reusable grocery bag, walked me out to these gangly little trees by the tennis court, and filled it up with fresh peaches from these trees. “No one else is going to eat them,” she said, opening the second bag. And she’s right. If you’ve ever walked through here at the end of peach season you’ll see the ground littered with mushy, brown fruit.
If you’re reading this during late August or early September, go ahead and pick one for yourself. I’ve eaten some of the best peaches I’ve ever had off these trees. And while you’re eating, ask yourself why they’re here. They were planted here by someone–I don’t know who–as a decorative tree. You could try to argue they’re here to produce fruit to eat, but no one ever comes to harvest them. They are here to be looked at, and nothing more.
Like the grass which Grounds reseeds every spring before graduation in the hostile shade-choked environment of the oak grove, many of the trees here simply exist to project the idea of a natural space on campus. Trees are tall enough to break up the view between buildings, they shade the cement which otherwise would quickly become hot under the late August sun, and they give the idea of a majestic forest to people who see them. They bring in a bit of that feeling of exploration just for a little bit, until you get to where you’re going. A welcome interruption, indeed.
I’m not sure if the college will prune these peach trees in the way orchard trees are (orchards are kept short to make sure their fruit is accessible for harvest), or if they’ll leave them to grow as tall as they can to better mix with the other trees. I suppose that depends on what image the campus wants them to produce, but for now we will watch them grow, seemingly apart from human interference.