The trees were here, perhaps planted by a passerby when horses and wagons travelled on what was once a dirt road. Now, it’s flat grassland. And on its edges sturdy apple trees lean toward the big pond as if reaching for warm sunshine and a cool drink. Maybe they were dropped by a bird who’d visited our neighbors' old orchard. Or it could have been the family who built our 60-year-old log cabin with their own hands, the notion I lean toward as I watch the boys clamber up one and shake down a few of the rosy, bulging fruits that weigh down its branches with the promise of good eating and apple pies (that I don’t yet bake). Even the fruits that aren't as sweet are useful; I can always make cider vinegar and applesauce.
Free organic food for the taking, from our own land, is impossible not to enjoy, no matter how humble it looks. Case in point: the apple above is from our “best” tree. (I’m still waiting for Fedco's John Bunker, the apple guru of Maine, to help me identify it and others here.) That would be helpful, in case it’s a variety that stores well or, even, improves with age. Lineage aside, its warts and dents and ruddy “rusting” are all part of its charm. I adore it for its juicy, sweet flesh. Its solid consistency. Its sheer size. And the fact that it’s HERE, with no hand or help from me.