Monday, August 22, 2016

Cider Summer

The warmth of these August days presses down upon the ripening fruits. As I walk the pond path through what was probably at one time an apple-cherry-filbert orchard, the air is cider-scented. Even here from the school room window, I catch wafts of pear and apple sweetness. September is coming.

The trees in apple orchards 
With fruit are bending down.

H.H. Jackson

Something stirs within me every time I pass an apple tree. I played beneath the benevolent branches in our own backyard as a child and delighted in my mother's homemade apple butter, so I'm sure nostalgia has something to do with it. The added memory trigger -- scent -- is so compelling it makes my throat swell with a longing ache, almost akin to sadness.

With Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings I might say,

I do not know the irreducible minimum of happiness for any other spirit than my own. It is impossible to be certain even of mine. Yet I believe that I know my tangible desideratum. It is a tree-top against a patch of sky.

Funny that one can feel sad over a happiness. My personal "treetop against a patch of sky" would have to be apple or birch, I believe. The added delight of fruit clusters in late August or early September make apple trees particularly lovely to gaze upon, and the wild abandon with which they appear in our neck of the woods turns them into familiar, homey friends -- like coming home.  

My sister and I used to play with our dolls beneath the snowball bushes in our backyard, not far from the heady apple trees. With crisp white petals blanketing the grass and the snowy globes swaying overhead, we knew -- even without being able to name our "tangible desideratum" -- that there was indeed something magical about gazing through "a tree-top against a patch of sky" on a cider-scented summer afternoon.  

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