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Posts Tagged ‘orchard’

Late Summer

            for Vivian and Christie


This lyric afternoon with its fruit trees
and friendship and barest kiss of rain,
is it so wrong to want to save it, the way
I will process the dark plums into jam?
Is it so wrong to want to preserve
the honeyed song of summer, the warmth
of sun, the pleasure of an afternoon
with my daughter and a friend?
An ovation of thunder.
Scent of basil. Purr of cat.
The creamy fuzz of the growing quince.
The joy as we try for the first time
black apricots, their skin so surprising,
their flesh so nectar-ish. I will freeze
most of the ripe blackberries we gathered,
will savor them come snow, come cold.
A day such as this is like yeast in wheat dough—
it’s not there just for taste, it’s the difference
between bread and a brick.
It invites a trust there will be other days
filled with elation. Dig in, it seems to say.
Don’t save for later what can only be lived today.
Even the disbelief that a day could be so good—
that too, tastes so nourishing, so sweet.

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I remember walking the orchard rows

and picking ten flowers from ten apricot trees,

then opening them with my thumbnail,

one by one, peeling back the white petals

to reveal the telling heart. In some,

the pistil and style were still green,

in others, shriveled and black.

We could estimate percentages—

how much of the crop had survived.

 

It takes only a half an hour for a killing frost

to render barren dozens of acres of trees.

And what of the human heart? If it

had blossoms, could we count them, too,

and say after a cold spell, what chance

love had of staying on the tree? Is it

simply a matter of degree? And duration,

too, of course. Or is there something more?

 

Sometimes the loss of fruit is a blessing—

the tree can only support so much.

But is it the same with love? Is there

a kindness in loss? Or is love not like

the cherry tree, not like the apricot?

Does it want only to thrive, to blossom,

to offer as much as it can?

 

And let’s say there is no fruit.

Trees still need water, need nourishment.

So much investment for what looks

like a season when nothing will ripen.

Tell yourself, one season is not

the life of an orchard. Tell yourself

sometimes it’s worse than it seems.

Sometimes there’s life high up in the tree.

Sometimes it’s a killing freeze.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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turning black
all those apricot blooms
I am not thinking of

*

almost pink—
the orchard not the only place
about to bloom

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