Speaking of post cards, I could use one about now. My ideal postcard would say "Hi, I think you're amazing. I have millions of spare dollars and I want to buy you fifty acres of land in the place of your choosing. In return, I only ask that you please stop writing about apples. Could you write about plums instead?" If that kind of money was on the table, I could write about anything. You want me to write about astronauts who wet the bed in outer space? Sure thing. Fork over the land. But this is obviously a dream scenario. It's unlikely to bear fruit. And so here I am, stuck with apples.
But apple trees are pretty miraculous. I mean, they're impressive. As produce goes, the apple is heavy. Maybe it's not the heaviest fruit in the world, but it's certainly heavier than the kumquat. This is to say that apples are dense. When you put several hundred dense apples on one small tree, you end up with droopy branches. It's a wonder that the tree can accommodate the weight of them all. The apple tree's transition from fruit-free to fruit-laden over the course of a season is really impressive. Compared to the weight of an apple, the weight of an apple blossom is negligible. The branches sag, sometimes all the way to the ground, but they don't break. To me that seems like some pretty sensible architecture. There are other trees out there with load limits that are much lower. Put too much weight on a branch and that branch breaks.
To reach the higher apples, I had to climb into the tree. I pulled up my shirt and put it into my mouth, creating a kind of kangaroo pouch for apples. It wasn't really necessary to do this—more than enough apples could be reached from the ground—I just wanted to climb the tree. It was fun to climb into the apple tree. I put my shirt in my mouth, picked apples with one hand and took pictures with the other. Here and there an apple would fall onto the nearly empty propane tank below. It was a quiet afternoon, and I was very aware that life doesn't afford you too many opportunities to hear the sound an apple makes when it falls onto an empty propane tank. Stan wrote recently that farming is sensual work, that the smells of basil, onions, and parsley come at us through the nose, which is very true, but there are sounds to be considered as well. There is a peaceful kind of music that happens when two apples rub shoulders in an apple box. It is much more soothing than the sound of a fax machine.
There is really so much to write about apples. Of all the fruits that occupy our imagination, apples hog up one of the biggest chunks of real estate: an apple for teacher, get a load of them apples, one bad apple spoils the barrel, an apple a day and so forth. Me and Stan picked five boxes of apples today. Think of all the doctors we're putting out of business, I said. Stan laughed in the quiet way he does when he's enjoying his work on this farm.