A bumper crop of apples, ready to pick sooner than I ever remember them being.
I stood under the tree watching flashes of red and green drop around me, chanting “Watch out, watch out” as my girls darted between them, shrieking with joy, grabbing at the fruit as they bounced earthside. We filled mixing bowls and boxes, inhaling the honeyed scent of autumn in the middle of an August heat wave, all of us excited about the prospect of applesauce and apple pie and fresh plain apples so crisp and juicy and sweet. So perfect.
Many years ago this particular tree, planted back when the house and the farm was new, fell over in a storm. It’s roots were inspected and judged to be still good. With a cinch and a chain and a stout piece of wood, it was righted and propped up. The board is still there, and the tree still leans into it; no longer a perfect specimen, but still faithfully producing the most delicious apples as it has for more than a century.
Looking at these pictures, I cringe a little to see how crude and makeshift our apple harvesting looks. One day we might have ladders that are tall enough, shiny new tools that aren’t hobbled together with string and duct tape, and handsome bushel baskets to load all the apples into once we pick them. For now though, all we’ve got are the broken old picker we found in a shed and empty baby wipes boxes from when the girls were little.
And honestly, taking a cue from that old tree, I know that’s good enough.