Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Apple Tree

The Apple Tree

The apple tree that stands outside my bedroom window is my favorite drying rack for yarn in the summer. In the winter it serves as home for many of my bird feeders and the twiggy canopy serves the tiny birds well as they dart around with the seeds I fill the feeders with. In the spring there is a beautiful halo of pink bloom and in the summer a shady area for cats to play and birds to sing. The fall's fruit is small and bitter, but the glories of the spring more than make up for it. As I hung up skeins of Shetland/mohair handspun, I saw that the buds are bursting into leaves.

When I was a child here there were several apple trees around the farm, old standards that even then were gnarled with age and untended. A small orchard once stood above the house with a double row of trees that bore "cooking apples". I never knew the varieties. Another in the yard stood right outside the porch door; when I was very small I remember playing on the porch in an old corner cupboard there and looking out at the spring bloom of the tree.

My favorite tree when I was a child was a towering giant that bore yellow apples with a sweet flavor. My grandfather called it Yellow Delicious, although the flavor of those long ago apples was nothing like today's variety. The apples were small: no one really looked after the trees, and thin-skinned. We picked them off the tree to eat when they were ripe but you had to be careful of worms!

I loved the tree because the trunk sloped up, then between two huge branches was the perfect spot to sit and read beneath the shade of the leaves. I spent hours in the summer there, reading my favorite books while cats and kittens romped around the tree. One year I remember that a bird; I think it was a robin, built a nest in a hollow below my reading place. When I came home the tree was still standing, and greeted me my first year here with a beautiful, soft pink bloom. The next winter it fell; finally brought down by time and the elements. I still miss it!

I finished plying the Shetland/mohair singles yesterday and the yarn dried fast overnight. There was another frost this morning but the sun is warming the air fast. In the evening when we went to feed the fish we saw a meadowlark out in the field. I've been watching for the barn swallows but they haven't returned. Today the SO is visiting; we hope to take a walk on the Parkway and act like tourists!

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