Yesterday in the very final hours before dark I waited somewhat impatiently for my friends and their children to load up in my car, as I heard the final buckle fasten I changed into gear thinking to myself we may have just enough time. ...
Having three different options running through my mind for where to go I tried to juggle the decision for risk / reward / effort for which location would be best. Noting the few hours of daylight we had left I decided to take a risk and go with a place that was a little closer. The risk with this location was that I had not yet relieved permission and would gambling on whether or not the property owner would be home.
See my brothers and I had picked up a new hay field from a neighbor who recently inherited a farm property and we had noticed a beautiful apple tree loaded with budding apples a few months back. We knew this tree was going to be loaded with deliciousness in a few months and were fairly certain this young family had no intentions on picking them. I was heading out of town the flowing day right before a cold front was heading in, and apples were just past peak ripeness and were starting to fall heavily, this was likely the last chance of this season to really get into them.
Not that they would truly be going waste if I didn't get them, no they would go to the ground, the deer and birds would feast on the sugar to put on some fat for the winter or they would rot, providing nutrients back to the earth below to help the grass and trees grow for the following year, but it sure still seemed wasteful to let a tree so full of deliciousness go to waste.
A short drive later I passed the tree and pointed it out to everyone on the road down to the farm owners house. It looked really full and I was pretty much dedicated to picking that day whether we received permission or not, fortunately as I drove down the hill "eureka" there were cars in the driveway and children playing on scooters and bicycles through a cone built obstacle course in the driveway.
I parked at the end of the drive and approached the young couple walking past their daughter and her friend on their respective wheeled transportation mechanisms. I reintroduced myself to the gentlemen and asked him what his plans were for his apples. We waived his hand in an upward motion and declared "have at em, they are all yours." His wife joked of the obstacle course as I replied thank you, I'll bring you some of whatever yummies we make out of them. He smiled and I returned to my car quickly as we had not much time to spare.
We parked at the edge of the field and road and began to walk through high ankle high pasture approaching the apple tree and to my delight I noticed all the walnuts that we were walking over "double score". I left a basket there and instructed the young ones to begin loading up I walnuts as I assessed our best options for the apple collection that was about to ensue.
Being about a week late from peak ripeness the majority of the low hangers had fallen and I'm sure a few passer by's had stopped to collect the low hanging fruit. we started to gather some of the low hangers and my friend began I shake the tree to get some down, and they sure did fall. I calmly explained to him the danger with this method and the bruising and we both took turns climbing the tree to different branches and tossed the apples down to waiting receivers below.
My friend placed her 1 year old child (birthday the following day) on a blanket still in the shade but in a spot fairly safe from falling apples and handed him an apple she had taken a bite out of. The smilling happy baby was in all his glory sucking on and attempting to bite into this nature given deliciousness. I'm sure by this point each of us had our fair share of bite in on our own pickings and very uber delighted at our luck of this being a honey crisp tree.
I rushed back to the farm swapped cars and pulled the jeep into the cow field where I hooked up the trailer and began to load the ladder. My brother walking across the field had already put two and two together and knew what I was up to so came over to help me load the ladder. I scuddled back to find a basket full of walnuts and a laughing and smiling family awaiting, I was in the process or parking the jeep where the Subaru previously was parked as I had another lightbulb moment and said "it's a jeep fool, utilize it"
I drove through the field parking directly beneath the tree and climbed upon my jeep making picking cake work. We gatherer and foraged and strategized at times forming chains of pickers, catchers, and baggers.
We bustled about for a while filling baskets as we could until we made it to the point we would need the ladder. We struggled to find spots for the ladder and realized darkness was sneaking up on us so I decided we were finished and loaded the ladder pack up, left my friends to finish up as I went to switch cars back ( no back seats in the jeep) I hustled back to swap cars came back to pickup my friends, we loaded up the car, and our day was almost complete.
Upon dropping them off and they offered to sort through any bad apples and divvy then up by the time I returned to town a few days later. I went up very itchy and hungry and tired still needing to pack and prepare to wake up at 330 and head to the airport.
When I woke up still itching and tired from such a busy day followed by such a busy evening of apple picking hustling to the airport and now sit awaiting take off. Going through my mind a lot of things but at the very forefront of my thoughts is an ongoing theme, of all the things we don't have time for, "we would all be better served to find more time to pick apples."
Notes for edits (yes we could have bought a bushel of apples for $35, but if you think this was just about eating apples you miss the point)
(As we typically access priorities in life the silly event of picking apples would typically get pushed to the back burner, but after forcing ourselves to squeeze it in we created an event and memories that we will always look back upon and cherish compared to all of those more important events that We probably already forgot)
Amidst the mindfulness takeover of this event nature and instincts take over, you find your hands and feet working together, your balance automatically adjusts itself, you don't have to force yourself to think, your mind and body just start working together)
(Those working with you, your tribe if you will, as you progress through all start getting on the same wavelength, you start anticipating the others movements and thoughts, the process automatically becomes more efficient as you let nature take over)
(The wrk that went into picking the apples not only made you appreciate the apples And the act of harvesting, but also makes you start to appreciate and seek to understand the seasons and stire and growth cycles more deeply, it's the taking and giving of life that is life that we are far to removed from typically, and our souls thrive when we re introduce them to what are truly natural situations and environments)