When I came home last November, I thought it would only be here a short while. Nothing longer than five months…maximum stay. I would come home, go to a semester at the local junior college then intern somewhere. There were many ideas and scenarios that I pondered and plotted. Staying home for a prolonged period of time wasn’t the plan. In fact, when my Mom mentioned that I would probably be around for the greatly anticipated Gravenstein Apple harvest, I was not thrilled. In fact, the idea of staying in one place for that long, while there was so much to do…out there…in the world, made me twinge. Seeing kids I had known in grade school now as high school seniors was enough to make me feel old. But now I was going to be that kid moving back home, at a cross roads with only a whim of an idea? (This is an exaggeration, I had more than a whim of an idea. I had a cautiously optimistic plan.)
Yet, I stayed. The beautiful and ancient apple tree outside the gate blossomed with thousands of pink pompom like buds. Eventually they fell and in their place grew thousands of tiny green apples. The tiny things grew larger and larger. New colors of red and pinks and yellows began to paint the bright green skin. Suddenly it was late July and apples literally were raining down on us.
The apples have come and gone, the last have fallen from the ancient and glorious apple tree outside our front gate and are now slowly rotting. The piles and piles of apples that once overtook all free surfaces have dwindled and the sweet apple aroma has faded.
I was here to see the tree blossom, the tiny green youngsters grow, the red apples fall and the brown apples decompose. I’ve been here for it all. It turns out I was supposed to be home for nine months. The truly important thing was not to rush things or push the river, but be were I was and stay there a while.
Never have apples been so important.
The time I’ve been able to spend at home, with those that I love, in a place that I so love has proved to be invaluable. I’ve learned more from those apples than I would have learned in any other environment. These past months of been a concentrated internship in life.
What I really want to say here is that when given an opportunity, even one and especially one as simple as witnessing the growing and falling of apples, embrace it and taste all the flavor, even if it different than expected. Savor the crispness and sweetness. Watch out for worms and odd pieces of bark.
Utilize every morsel of that apple.