Saturday, October 15, 2005

Picking Apples in October

The old are dying and I’m old and the pains that run through me like lumbering freight trains on rusty dilapidated tracks are not from any recent births in my being that I can recall and the apples on the back yard courtland and macintosh have been falling for weeks and rolling in the unruly grass or forming craters in the flowerbed before rotting or being eaten by the chipmunk that lives under our deck (who has also decided that the elbows in the protruding roots of the hedge are a good place to store apples) or drunk by yellow-jackets or eaten by those things which look like ladybugs but are something totally different and perhaps sinister because they stormed our border without visas or passports or is it the skunk which I saw sniffing the front yard mulberry tree because I’m certain I’ve seen his droppings around the side of the house but this is about the four bags of apples I picked today and for christ’s sake, it’s mid-October and when I was a child that meant we were eying the sky for snow and the road for road hockey but this year we haven’t even had frost yet and the roses are still blooming the inpatients an army creeping off to somewhere as though they’re on a holy crusade and the courtland I cut into four pieces was damn sweet and that’s not the taste of October that’s not the feel of driving out of Waterloo past the Mennonite farm lanes where men in plain black stand beside their unhitched buggies selling potatoes and apples and other late-harvest farm fare to the tourists and such on their way to St Jacobs and tourist shopping and I don’t have to stop because I have the two apple trees (which I planted eighteen years age when we moved into this house) full of apples as a testament that what I see today in the falling leaves and the bare threads of bushes as though their skin has been stripped from them and only the bones are left as though this vision I have is not the truth and the aging year is just a piece of the puzzle because the apples hold something in October which is not October just as the pains in my knees and shoulders and the funerals we now go to are not the sweetness of all the years which lie behind us yes all the sweet years fermented into the taste of life.

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