Groceries On The Ground

Found this in my drafts section from four years ago.  I have no idea why I never posted it.  But now I have. ~T~

After two weeks of emotional tailspins, I finally had the opportunity to get a bit grounded.  How did I do it?  I picked apples.

I suppose you could say I picked up apples, because most of the useful fruit had already made it to the ground via gravity.  The process of gathering got me thinking though, pondering the important things in life.

As I inspected, then dropped each apple into my gathering bag, I realized that I was picking up groceries.  Not that I had intended to go and purchase apples mind you, but here they were, ready for my trundle.   The window of opportunity for fruit consumption (or subsequent processing) was now open, and it would be closing quickly.  So is the way of fruits and vegetables.  So is the way of life on earth.

I grew up in a suburb that had been cut into the rolling hills of northwest Pennsylvania, a lolling green patch of acreage that once was an apple orchard.  I blanch now as I tell you, I have no idea what the apple varieties were that once grew in those orchards, but I can tell you unequivocally that the fruits were delicious.  In my mind I can still pace off the distance from each apple tree, one to the next.  I fully recall playing outdoors, plucking fruit when I was hungry to recharge my activity, never setting foot in the house for other nourishment until sundown.  My earliest memory of our backyard was that we had a total of seven trees which yielded lots and lots of fruit, year after year.

If you’re unfamiliar with apple tree lore and maintenance, you’re not alone.  Even as an inquisitive child who had ready access to fresh fruit in the summer at my whim, I cared not a fig for apple history.  As I recall, my father had a healthy interest in the genealogy of the orchard upon which we had settled, even attempting to pass some of that lofty information forward, to no avail.  The trees themselves were a delightful distraction for me, perfect for climbing, but the fruit that they dropped became a bane of my existence.

Like all things that evolve to survive, these trees produced an overabundance of fruit in the hope of keeping the ground sowed with it’s own genes.  When you look at the evolution of any thing this marvelous universe produces, it produces it prodigiously!

A chore that was delegated to me each summer was to cut the grass weekly across our half acre of nirvana, a similar nirvana adjoined adjacently by every other neighboring nirvana.  I took to this job grudgingly at first, but then I began to recognize the meditative qualities of of “walking the path”, the somber hum of a two cycle engine lulling me.  Picking up apples on the other hand became a source of sibling angst, preplanned avoidance, and downright embassy storming.  Even staying in bed ala Ferris Buehler was preferred to picking up apples.

Let me clarify for you city folk – healthy apple trees dump apples by the shitload.  In late summer I recall filling endless green garbage bags with bruised, battered and bee covered apples, then dragging these loathsome carcasses one by one to the curb.  As a fourteen year old I knew that no job on the planet could be worse, assuming simultaneously that all of my friends were gleefully cavorting in the sweet summer sunshine as I toiled upon this parental “Simon LeGree” plantation.

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