Saturday, March 17, 2012

Apple Tree

When I was little, we had an apple tree in our back yard. A lot of my memories of that time center around that tree.

When I was supposed to be taking naps, a lot of times I would go to the window of my bedroom and look down on the branches of the tree, and through them into the yard and street below.

In the spring the branches were full of pale pink blossoms. The sun shone through the petals and make the entire tree glow - I used to think it was the most beautiful thing in the world.

In the summer the branches were full of green leaves, but I could see through the gaps quite well. I remember seeing friends riding bikes down the street, or playing in their yards. I remember my downstairs neighbor and friend, Timmy, talking to his cool uncle, who was probably in his middle teens at the time. One summer while I was watching during naptime, Timmy fell out of the tree and broke his arm. His cousin carried him, crying pitifully, through the yard and into the house, and I was pretty scared until I saw Timmy later with a cast on his arm. Then I was a little bit jealous, because he got to boss the rest of us around for a couple weeks. I was usually the one who got to choose the games we played!

During the summer the apples started to bud and grow from tiny marbles into full sized fruit. I would peer at the apples and think of what would come when they ripened...

Once the apple blossoms had fallen, we would use the lower branches to boost ourselves up and climb up as high as we could go. When that happened, we would settle ourselves into the crooks of the branches and play all sorts of games of Pretend. Sometimes the tree was a Pirate Ship and sometimes it was the towers of a mighty castle. Sometimes we were mysterious international spies, and we would report to each other the dangerous activities going on in the cars passing on the street below. Sometimes we were birds nesting in those branches, and sometimes we were dragons waiting to pounce on unsuspecting villagers. Whatever we did in those branches was always magical and always lots of fun.

In the autumn the apples would finally begin to fall to the ground, which was a sign that they were ready to be collected. We would climb into the branches and collect the red apples, and bring them to my mother. They were too sour to eat as is, but my mom would make the most wonderful tart Apple Pie in the world for dessert. Some nights we would be very lucky and at dinner time she would cut the apples into large chunks and mix them into dough, and then drop them by spoonfuls into the pan of hot oil on the stove until they fried into golden Apple Fritters.

Later in the autumn the leaves of all the trees up and down the street would turn colors - brown and orange and yellow and red. When that happened we knew that winter would be coming soon, and the branches of the apple tree would soon be bare.

In the winter, the branches of the apple tree were covered with ice and snow, and that is when it was easiest to see what was happening in the world beyond my own little back yard. I missed being able to play in the branches, but I knew that soon it would be spring again, and I'd be starting a new year of busy-ness with my fruitful friend!

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