One of my favorite things about the farm I grew up on was a giant Red Delicious apple tree sitting in the middle of the orchard. My dad planted lots of fruit trees when we moved to the farm but that particular tree was there long before that and all the others were simply added around it.
That tree was kind of my spot, the place where I would go when I wanted to think, pray, or be alone. I would climb up and sit in its scruffy branches or pace around beneath it when I couldn’t hold still.
I remember picking hundreds of apples off it one year when the snow had already come and my dad was trying to save the fruit before it was ruined and gone. I remember my dad climbing around on the branches like a monkey and dropping the apples into my nine or ten year old hands one by one. He gave me a dollar at the end of the day for helping him in the cold and we had more apples than we could ever use that year. I wonder if he remembers that day as well as I do.
My parents put a park bench under that tree and I remember sitting there talking with Darren when we were dating. It’s a sweet memory sitting there under the shade of the trees getting to know the man I would spend my life with.
That tree is gone now along with the rest of the orchard and the house I grew up in. It will always be one of my biggest regrets that I didn’t take any pictures of it before I left home but of course I didn’t know then that I would never see that place again. You never do know how life will work out.
My dad did something very special for me recently; he bought me two baby apple trees and promised to help me plant them at our new house when he comes to visit this summer. Darren and I picked the trees out one night in the rain and came home with a Red Delicious and a Mcintosh that now sit on our front porch waiting for my dad to plant them. The Red Delicious is going crazy with glossy leaves and lots of delicate pink buds.
I wasn’t able to plant a garden this year, what with moving and a baby on the way. But the cheerful buds on my apple tree brighten my day and gives me something from nature to enjoy until I have flowers and garden next year.