Cherrypicking
7/22/2014
Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, AANP Board Member
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
by: Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO, AANP Board Member

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The cherries have ripened in our city neighborhood and I’ve spent a good part of the last few days perched onto of a ladder picking them and contemplating many things.

All the cherries on a tree don’t ripen all at once, the sun has something to do with it but other factors are clearly at work as cherries adjacent to each other or hanging from a nearby twig are not necessarily on the same ripening schedule. Thus when picking cherries, one learns to cherrypick them, that is select only the ripest, and leave the less ripe ones for another day.

This is a meditative past time, learning to differentiate the ripest from the less so. One can do it by color of course, the redder the cherry the riper it is, but color doesn’t nearly describe the translucent glow a ripe cherry radiates. One can spend a good bit of time adjusting the ladder just right, catching the right angle of approach so the sun light is behind the cherries at just the right angle to make them glow. I think the physics of this phenomenon mirror the appearance of rainbows.

One can of course differentiate cherries by touch. Simply put, the ripe ones feel like they want to be picked, they drop off willingly into your hand, the unripe ones resist. If you persist the fruit may come and the pit, or stone, remains on the little stem. It wasn’t quite ready. Reaching up through leaves that blind you from seeing the cherries at all, letting the cherry stems slide between your fingers, one quickly gets a sense of which cherries are ready.

This year in particular, whether because of our spring rains or the popularity of backyard honeybee hives eager to pollinate fruit tree blossoms, I don’t know, the result is that we have an overabundance of cherries. It seems I may be the only eccentric in our neighborhood willing to put in the labor to pick these cherries. The results is that there are more cherries than I know what to do with. I can afford to be selective and only ripest.

The term cherry-picking can be also used in reference to a kind of selective discrimination in other areas of life aside from fruit harvesting. With age and experience, particularly experience of illness, people learn to cherrypick their way through daily experiences with greater care. “Do I really want to do that?” is the question they learn to ask, the equivalent of ascertaining a cherry’s ripeness. “Do I want to go there? Spend time with that person?”

Rather than agreeing to every request of their time, they hesitate, think twice about saying yes.

It’s not just age, it’s money too. We ask ourselves “Is this worth the money?”

Sitting atop my ladder my thoughts shifted to the AANP conference this summer. We’ve had quite a bit of discussion about this conference over the kitchen table as of late. I typically acquire a generous surplus of continuing education each year (except for the esoteric requirements such as ethics that Oregon requires) and don’t need to attend to collect CE hours. I pretty much specialize in my practice so many of the lectures don’t strike me as that useful. I’ve discovered I have a limited capacity for new information in my brain, and fear that whenever I squish new information in, some older chunk of data will get deleted. Thus looking at the list of speakers for this year’s conference, I am relieved to know that I do not have to sit through all the presentations. Some are speaking on topics that I have no interest in hearing. Others I have heard speak enough times in the past, that unless they have experienced a great epiphany of some sort in recent months, I’ve already heard what they have to say.

But one doesn’t pick every cherry on the tree, and one doesn’t go to the AANP to hear every speaker. There are enough to make the trip worthwhile I think. For sure I want to hear Christie Fleetwood. Whatever she talks about is usually interesting. Of all the pharmacy hours out there, the information she provides has the best chance of actually being useful to patients. Don Warren is a good guy, but what is it with all these Canadians on the schedule? Did I miss something? Are the Canadians cosponsoring this conference? Speaking of Canadians, it’s nice to see JJ on the schedule [Jean-Jacques Dugoua] and thank goodness for his whacky picture, it only adds further proof to my long standing theory that the Quebecois have atypical brain architecture. And my old room mate Paul Saunders who I almost bumped into skiing at Sunshine outside of Banff last winter, but apparently he was riding a different lift, but I’ll get to see him now.

Then there is Matt Baral, who disproves my theory and makes me admit that some smart people actually do live in Phoenix. And there’s Joe Pizzorno, and Mona of course, thank goodness, ditto on the people in Arizona.

That’s a long enough list to make the trip worthwhile I suppose. Truth is I spend most of my time out in the hallway talking to friends and often don’t manage to hear the full lectures anyway. So yes, I guess as we get older, we do learn to cherry pick.

Speaking of which I’ve got 3 kilos of cherries to pit, or as those Canadians probably call it, stone.
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