Hey, what do you know, it’s the last day of August!
And you know what that means when you wander outside around these parts?
It means that apples are loaded upon the trees, apples upon apples, weighing heavy upon the branches, dragging them down toward the earth.
We don’t have any apple trees nearby our house in the woods. We’re in a “new” part of the forest which hasn’t been inhabited by people too much. The apple trees lie in orchards in “old” parts of this land, parts of the land settled by old-timers who have long since passed on. They’ve left the shining orbs of apples behind; and this year they are hanging ripe and heavy on almost every gnarled tree.
I actually grew up among an apple orchard. In the backyard of our house in Yale, Michigan, grew a dozen noble apple trees. They were getting old even then, back in the 1960’s. We built sandboxes and tire swings beneath their mighty branches and climbed high in their limbs, attempting to reach the skies. (My brothers climbed higher than I did; I quaked in the lower branches closer to the safety of the ground while they dangled ‘way up there near the clouds.)
I recently have been reading a book sent by a dear blog reader friend named Sahlah (or Dawn). It’s called “Peace at Heart: An Oregon Country Life” by Barbara Drake. The author talks about how she samples dozens and dozens of wild apples. She records the taste and look on a chart…I was in awe of this upon reading the way she discriminated between the hundreds of apples, noticing their differences and similarities, their sweet and sour, their tang and twist. It made me want to begin sampling these apples today. But no, it’s still too early. The apple-juices are still coming ripe on their twigs; let’s wait til September or early October to sample their sweet fruit.
I wandered among the apple orchards for a half hour today, lost in the sound of singing cicadas (well, maybe that’s what they are), enjoying the last half-way warm day in August. The ground lay littered with pine needles and the birds sang a quarter mile away. There is a hush one hears and feels in woods like these; it silences you.
The silence lies so enchanted you forget to dream of apple pie or apple crisp.
Instead your eyes notice a spider web spun perfectly between in a tree. You marvel at its perfect symmetry, attempting to capture it gleaming in the sunlight.
Later will come a time for baking the earth’s offering of apples, for tasting the cinnamon and struesel. For now, we wait.
The juices continue to ripen as our sun turns toward its equinox…