Plum – Patience
Genus: Prunus – Family: Rosaceae
The spirit of a plum tree speaks to the value of patience and meditation. The phrase “patience is a virtue” reminds us that plums don’t become prunes in one day, and that they are worth the wait.
The Chinese word for plum is Li, means “clinging radiance.” Li is seen as the “light-giving” force that brings clarity. Li represents the elements of fire and sun. The English name for plum comes from the Latin word prunum meaning plum tree. By the late 18thcentury the word “plum” was used to describe “something desirable.”
Plums were one of the first domesticated trees along with figs, grapes and olives beginning around 10,000 BCE. Plums are “stone fruits” in the genus Prunus, along with apricots, peaches and cherries. Plums and apricots are so closely related that they have been placed together into their own subgenus, also called Prunus.
The subgenus Prunus is divided into three sections: Prunus (Old World Plums), Prunecerasus (New World Plums) and Armeniace (Apricots). Plums and apricots bloom in spring but only 50% of their flowers will become fruit. Of the 19 to 40 species that exist, European plum Prunus domestica, Japanese plum Prunus salicina and Apricot Prunus armeniaca are the most popular.
The first recorded occurrence of dried plums and apricots originated in Asia and India around 3,000 BCE and spread to the Fertile Crescent where they increased in popularity. Dried plums, “prunes,” and apricots are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as antioxidants. Dried fruits are healthy and portable snacks.
The original process of “sun-drying” meant choosing the perfect fruit and tending to it carefully over the course of several warm, dry days and nights. This too took patience and careful attention, but the reward was worth the wait.
Message: The plum spirit reminds us to be patient until the right moment arrives before acting. While we wait, we are encouraged to continue moving forward with other activities. Patience understands the importance of timing in all aspects of our life. Now is not a time for hasty decisions or actions. Trust in the process that moves beneath the surface.
Challenge: Impatience, irritability, anxiety and a lack of trust that life will work itself out.
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