Apple trees remind me of old friends. You know the ones I mean. Always willing to answer the phone, picking up the conversation right where it had ended, despite not hearing your voice on the other end of the receiver for almost twelve months. Some of us are able to see those friends even less often. Two years. Five years. Perhaps even ten years dances by and before you know it, the college roommate once standing on a bar during your Key West spring break trip is no longer answering to the nickname "Chuggers" but instead prefers "mom".
Apple trees are trusty. They bear fruit and stand fairly steady and loyal despite the number of years they've been living through the storms that we create for them. Many of us think of their presence only as fall peaks around the corner. New England leaves turning like a blanket of warm Pantone colors and reminding us that despite our best efforts, Mother Nature is still technically in charge. We visit them with our baskets and buckets. Hay rides come a la carte, with bagfuls of sugar and cinnamon cider donuts quickly devoured. Bags in hand, twenty or so dollars a piece, we stroll back to our tightly parked cars and wonder what kinds of recipes we might find as we scroll through Pinterest in an effort to utilize our newly picked winnings.
On the farm though, the apple trees are more like neighbors who pay attention enough to understand when you might need a meal or a helping hand. They listen to your sorrows each day as long as you simply come over for a visit. And then stand there sturdy, loyal, offering their limbs for support even when the wintery days have closed the cupboards on their plentiful production.
Two orchards sit behind the farmhouse that my dreams occupy at night, one new and one old. As I walked through them for a much needed hike, I decided to stop and say hello as I returned from the woods I take walks in so often. I stopped at the northern most tree, holding on to her branches and wondering how long she had been standing there, keeping watch on the farm below. Wanting to know what kind of view she had as the resident watch-tree of that particular orchard (a title designated by me in this very moment) I diligently hoisted myself up and climbed to the top. I sat there for awhile, asking her what she thought of my current life adventure, and while she listened to me ramble on like an excited second grader at recess, I could feel her settle in on the other end of the line, and smile like a long-time friend, happy that I had come over for a visit.