When we lived in Massachusetts, we had a ritual. On the first Saturday of October, we would bundle up in cable knit sweaters and thick socks and go apple picking. Our oldest daughter, only a baby at the time, would sit in her backpack and gnaw on apples as Hal and I filled a bushel of different varieties. We'd top it off with apple donuts and fresh, hot, apple cider before heading home to make sauce, butter, pie and chips. I miss those times. Fall is, by far, my favorite season. I would give two summers for one good Autumn. I love the smell of winter closing in, leaves mulching on the garden and moist earth preparing to sleep for a few months. In honor of the season, I'm posting a poem by that quintessential New Englander, Robert Frost.
After Apple Picking
by Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.