Apples from the Library Window

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Now close the windows and hush all the fields:
     If the trees must, let them silently toss;
No bird is singing now, and if there is,
     Be it my loss.

It will be long ere the marshes resume,
     It will be long ere the earliest bird:
So close the windows and not hear the wind,
     But see all wind-stirred.

                       Robert Frost, 1913.

All has been wind-stirred around the farmhouse in the last few days. Brown leaves have danced past the windows and piled in pockets along the old stone walls that still define the fields in the area. Other walls snake through the woods nearby showing where old fields, carved over decades of plowing a harvest of stones, have faded back to woodlot.

Through it all, I have kept my eye on the two old apple trees outside the library window. They are very old, with bark rough and gnarled with age. These could be the old trees that threw their apples at Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. They are alive with character.

All spring I watched them flower and leaf out, and waited to see what crop would come of them this year. This summer I listened through the open window to the orchard orioles and the lone catbird calling, amidst the leaves.

These are snow apple trees. Said to be some of the first apple trees brought over from Europe, and probably brought to Canada by the French, they are thought to be the ancestor apple of the MacIntosh.

The last of their leaves blew off only days ago in the cold November winds, but the small apples stubbornly remain on the bare branches. They are still yellowish-green, with a blush of red in spots; the interior, where the worms haven't been, are a snowy white -- hence the name.

I have tried these apples, these remnants from the past. It's a good-tasting apple; clean in flavor and crisp to the teeth. I can almost taste the flavor that later became the Mac in each bite. Not great for cooking, however; I tried without success.

Watching those dancing apples in the wind, I can imagine a past Fall, long ago in the history of this farm, where apples were picked, amber cider squeezed in large presses, and the apple remains fed to the farm animals. It's comforting to know these trees knew past occupants of the farmhouse, year after year flowering and fruiting, long after generations here have passed away. These trees connect me to what was -- and to what will be for years to come...

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on January 21, 2009 1:00 AM.

The Dreaded Knotweed was the previous entry in this blog.

Thanksgiving Memories... is the next entry in this blog.

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