Savage Farming

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A handful of apple tree

Cold air, puffy clouds blowing by. The branches sway and bob as I pull myself up another notch.

The cloth and metal harvest bucket hanging from my left shoulder is already heavy with apples. But the best are near the top. I find a branch that will (briefly) hold my 250 pounds. That gives me a toe hold to the largest top branch which 19 years of pruning have tenderly developed into the perfect step. Rough lichens increase the friction of my grip, securing me almost like velcro.

Pluck, pluck, plux. The bucket grows heavier. A few apples have to be plucked with my right hand and dropped overhead into the bucket. The few bruises won't have time to darken before they are cut up and dipped in sugar water and cinnamon for the drier.

One last largish apple and I begin the gnarly descent. Not trusting the small branch quite so much on the way down, I quickly shift my feet through the intricate patterns necessary to descend the tree. Waves of energy wripple and surge through the noontime air and sun. With my hand closed tight on the biggest up-branch I set foot at last on the lowest 3-fold bifurcation of the trunk. Lowering my bucket to the earth, I close my eyes and breathe deep the air and sky. The smell of tree, the rough touch of bark and lichen. A shimmering curtain, prayer or meditation take your pick, envelopes the orchard with my love for these moments.

Wishing you all a day like this.


  • Very poetic and grounding description! You're pretty agile to be climbing trees like that.

    By Blogger Rae Ann, at 8:16 AM  

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