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Last Sunday between rain showers, I went out into the yard to pick the only apple tree which set apples in our orchard.   It was quite full of red orbs, which are crispy and tart; this Liberty tree is the cross pollinator for the remaining trees.

I was pleased with the three lugs full of fruit and hoped they would remain good to eat for a long time to come.   I also thought about my father, who was an architect in Eastern Washington and an orchardist, mostly of apricots, a bee keeper, gardener, and active member of the community.   He picked a lot of fruit in his time, and kept his family fed.   He walked the irrigation ditches and found wild asparagus.  He climbed the mountains and enjoyed the meadow flowers as much as the view.

I think his architecture and art was greatly influenced by his working the trees and picking the fruit.

I read this poem at his memorial service and thought I would like to share it with you….

After Apple Picking
~Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

What do you do to cross pollinate your creativity?  Do you pick apples?  Garden? Hike? Do activities and seasons remind you of poetry or paintings you have experienced?

Other related reading:
Never build on your food supply
Some wonderful things I learned from Da Vinci

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Thu, September 23 2010 » Discoveries

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