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Evaluating Orchard Pollination – The Zen Method

Around 10 AM on a nice spring morning during peak bloom (preferably on a Sunday when there are no distractions) go into the middle of your orchard, sit down, assume the Lotus position and face to the southeast.

Breathe deeply, close your eyes and become conscious of all sounds: the chirping of birds, a barking dog, the drone of an airplane and, of course, the humming of honey bees.

Focus on the humming of the bees and relax as you gradually filter out all other sounds and all other thoughts. Begin humming yourself, first at a low pitch, then gradually raise the pitch until you approximate the same frequency of the bees. Continue humming at this pitch until you actually BECOME A BEE (not difficult if you have attained the proper receptive stage). As a worker bee, soar over the bloom and then visit individual flowers; as you do so, you will experience first-hand the distribution of pollen in your orchard and you will become aware of the most attractive areas of your orchard.

As noon approaches, face to the south and transform yourself from a bee into a pollen grain, stuck to the body hairs of a honey bee. (If you are at one with your surroundings, this transformation will be a smooth one). Become the all-powerful male life force of the plant kingdom. Many who have undergone this transformation have also achieved an unexpected side benefit: an amazing improvement in their marital lives.

As the bee carries you from flower to flower, continue to keep your mind free of extraneous thoughts and, imperceptibly, the entire pollination process will infuse your mind and body. Revel in the short but intense life of a pollen grain. Inhale the flower fragrance and dabble in the stigmatic secretions of a number of flowers – don’t get trapped by the first shiny stigma you see. Immerse your entire being into everything that is happening in your orchard now – stay in the moment, stay in the ”zone”.

Finally – and you should probably have someone with you the first time you try this – at around 2 PM, face to the southwest and, maintaining your pollen grain persona, attach yourself to an attractive stigma. Take a deep breath and dive, head first, into the style, the long tube connecting the stigma with the ovary. As gravity pulls you downward, steer yourself toward the ovary. As you get close, you will sense, rather than see, the ovule; at this time relax and let nature take it’s course.

As you join with the ovule, you will experience a temporary dizziness, followed by a sensual explosion that cannot be fully described – suffice to say the it will never be forgotten, probably never duplicated. Again, be careful with this phase – one grower that tried this on his own had to be extricated from an irrigation pipe by the local fire department.

At the end of the day, you should be totally relaxed with an overwhelming sense of well being. You should also have a thorough knowledge of how your orchard was pollinated; if not, at least you will have had an unforgettable and, perhaps, even a life-changing experience.

by Joe Traynor

from June 1, 1997 Almond Grower Newsletter