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Memory of Apples

by Grandmother Two Worlds


Apples red green and shiny hang like lanterns from the trees in the abandon orchard. The old truck that has brought us to this empty farm wheezes its last cough and diesels into silence.

Three bright eyed little girls prepare to exit the truck at the same time. I set the brake and open the door for them to tumble through. We had to park on the hill for a running start in case the battery will not pick up.. Typical of old "Cleo", as we sometimes call our vintage truck.

Each year we have come to this farm to gather the apples that still grow on the twisted trees. I am always careful to leave some for the deer and bear who live near by in the woods. I discovered this farm by chance when looking for herbs, that grow along the river banks.

Three bundles of sweaters and hoods run and play hide and seek around the trees, peals of laughter drifts up to me as I began to pick apples from the lower branches. We have no ladder and will have to really reach for the higher apples that always appear redder, bigger and more juicy. I have brought three bushel baskets for the apples and we will soon fill them.

As I start to pick I invision the sweet smell of apple sauce bubbling on the stove rich with cinnimon. I place another fat red apple into the basket and taste the juicy filling of an apple pie, warm from the oven, with sharp cheese on top.

The girls run from tree to tree not serious at all about picking apples. This old farm once had many children, I feel them as I watch the girls play in the orchard. Like shadows the spirit children run beside the girls and playing once more.

Just beyond the trees are the wild grapes we will also pick for jelly and juice.
The leaves are starting to change color and fall in a speckeled carpet. Like scattered gold, the leaves stir as the girls run through them.

I reach high up pulling the fat apples off the branch, all the time keeping an eye on the girls. I call to them, "do not venture far from the trees", they as usual do not listen to me. There are deep woods on each side of the field and in Maine one can get lost fast in the thick bramble of bush and trees.

Soon the baskets are full, with little help from my three charges, who now are eyeing the basket of food. Spreading an old blanket out, we sit and eat the sandwiches of home made bread and cheese. I pour apple cider in all their little cups and we have a great picnic in the orchard. The grass grows tall and invites us to lay back in it. Soon the game of clouds is in full swing the girls competing for the best shapes and colors. We make up stories and look for familiar forms of animals and birds in the white fluffy mist.

After this wonderful feast and rest, we walk to the woods behind the farm house. High in the trees we see clusters of dark sweet grapes hanging from the trees. The air is full of the ripe, rich odor, we pick several brown grocery bags full. These grapes are destined for my jelly pot to make a sweet filling on our bread this winter.

The wind starts to blow hard and specks of ice sting our faces, Gathering up the baskets and bags with some help we put them in the truck. The girls cheeks are as pink now as the apples stacked in the truck. Of course no one wants to leave so they go for a last run in the tall grass. I know the ride home will be quiet the girls will be fast asleep before we hit the black topped road.

As we start to leave a whippoorwill calls in the the woods, now starting to darken and fade in the afternoon light. I always make a little visit to the old farm house and look in the windows, no one has been there in years. By the old slate sink sits a Victorian wood stove covered in dust and rust. Sad to see this place that once housed a family empty, and not wanted. For one small moment I touch the door jam and place myself in the house. In this one small space and time, I live there with my girls.

I can smell fresh bread baking and see steaming apple pies sitting on the old pine table in the kitchen. The house welcomes me as I enter the kitchen door. Laughter and sun light fills the well worn and scrubbed kitchen. The wood stove crackles and pops calling me near, I am enfolded in a place of love and peace. For that one small moment, I can feel the love that still lives in this house. I close my eyes and say a pray to Creator for this time and place, I give thanks for the memory of apples.

by Grandmother Two Worlds

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