Through the night
outside my window
one by one let go
their branches and
drop to the lawn.
I can’t see, but hear
the stem-snap, the plummet
through leaves, then
the final thump against the ground.
at once, or one
right after another.
During long moments of silence
and wonder about the bruised bodies,
the terror of diving through air, and
think I’ll go tomorrow
to find the newly fallen, but they
all look alike lying there
dewsoaked, disappearing before me.
I lie beneath my window listening
to the sound of apples dropping in
the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,
which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know
the meaning of what I hear, each dull
thud of unseen apple-
body, the earth
falling to earth
once and forever, over
~ Li-Young Lee,”Falling: The Code” from Rose
Right outside our bedroom window stand two very ancient Gravenstein apple trees. Despite their age, they continue to produce apples with unparalleled bright and sweet flavor. These aren’t winter “keepers” so must be used quickly, preferably picked before they end up falling to their fate. Still, I rarely get that done before they are let go.
Over the past several weeks, before I fall asleep, I have listened to the trees releasing their hold on their apples, one by one by one. I make a mental note to try to get to the base of the trees first thing in the morning to pick up the “still warm” apple bodies strewn about in the grass underneath, in order to start a pot of applesauce simmering on the stove. Some of the Gravensteins are far too bruised or wormy to bother with, but with a careful eye, I can find the most recent windfalls that are worth peeling and chopping up.
I realize I miss picking up many apples that eventually melt back into the earth from which they originally came, feeding the roots of these old old trees. I think about my own current wobbliness on a branch where I budded, bloomed, and have fruited and wonder when the time will come when I too will be let loose to fall back to dust.
Or maybe, just maybe, I will be picked up and washed off to become part of a truly heavenly pie.
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