By David Fried
The apple was waiting to take its first steps away from its tree. It had made it through the winds of winter and the hot evenings of summer when it rarely rained or cooled off. She heard the pears in a tree nearby saying, “Wait, wait, soon it will be your turn, soon you will soar through the air.” Would this be the morning?
A group of kids came by with their teacher into the fruit grove. Some of the tall kids reached up and picked apples, but one apple was much too high up to reach. A small kid saw her way up there and yearned to pluck her and taste her, but there was no way to get her down. Then the wind picked up. ”Class!” the teacher called, “five more minutes and we’re out of here.”
The smallest kid looked up at the apple, and the apple looked at the smallest kid. With all her might, the apple stretched this way and that to try to dislodge herself from her high branch. Then the wind gust pushed all the branches this way and that way. The apple came clean from her twig and began flying through the air. The smallest kid, watching the whole time, opened her hands and caught the flying apple.
On the bus back to school, the smallest kid reached into her pocket and felt her apple from the high branch. It seemed it had flown right to her at just the right moment. She lifted it to her mouth and took a bite. Ah, so crisp and so juicy. She thought about how long that tree may have been growing there, and who had planted it. She also realized she had been very fortunate that this apple had flown directly into her hands. She told herself that she would tell this story to others. She hoped it would inspire them to visit trees and look up into their branches and plant more so there would always be trees.
Each time we plant an apple tree, we are starting a new story. We are feeding the pollinators with the flowers, the wildlife with the apples and the earth with the leaves and oxygen. The tree we plant grows up towards the sky, higher than we can jump or reach, and the top of it lives up in the air. Each breeze sends the branches flying this way and that. Each autumn the leaves fly up and around. Each harvest the apples fly across the hillside into waiting arms or baskets.
When we plant an apple tree, we are a partner in the earth’s magic life. As the “parent” who guides this tree into the ground and into successful long life, we get to ride along with its accomplishments. When the fruit sails, we sail. When the leaves swirl, we swirl. As they say, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Keep sailing, keep flying, keep dancing, keep planting.
David Fried is the grower/poet of Elmore Roots fruit tree nursery in Elmore, Vermont.