27 August 2005

the fruit of my labor

These past few days up here have felt like autumn. I feel like I should be getting my Trapper Keeper ready, sharpening my pencils, and planning my first day of school outfit (which I am kind of doing, but for my first day of work) The busses full of Jamaican apple-pickers are bumping down the street, and it's been getting cold enough at night to close the windows.

Autumn also means apples here, in this orchard-rich region, and my parents have an apple tree in the front yard that's so old nobody knows what kind of fruit it is. It's been a fixure in my life as long as I can remember, from when I was newly able to climb trees, and the gently sloping branches were perfect practice. This year it's dropping apples by the minute, and the acid of their decay ruins the grass, so I've been picking them up to take up to the compost heap.

So far I've filled three large trash barrels and there are still more falling. It's a pleasant enough job, surrounded by the scent of cider, crouched in the cool grass with the tree arching overhead. There were enough relatively unblemished and newly fallen apples to make a crisp last night, so we spent about an hour picking through the bruises from the fall from the tree and the places where opportunistic bees made forays through the skin. The resulting crisp was perfect- tart apples spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and mace, topped with crisp crumble laced with pecans. Times like this make it difficult to imagine being in a place where the seasons aren't marked by the familiar fruit on the trees, the almost imperceptible shift in the weather, and the beginning scents of decay and cold. It's what I love best about New England.

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