One day after another—
They all fit.
–By Robert Creeley, from The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley: 1945-1975. Copyright © 2006 by Robert Creeley.
Ask anyone who knows us. We don’t rush into things.
We study the situation. We agonize over the details. We talk out the possibilities, mentally try out a series of “what-ifs”, watch the wind, wait for the stars to align.
We think of alternatives that delay further decisions. We come up with Plan A, then re-evaluate in favor of Plan B, then C…
Sure, we’ve been known to make impulse decisions. You only have to look at our overflowing book shelves and CD collection to realize that.
But some things take a long time to develop, and the longer you wait to start them, the longer you wait to enjoy them. Things like cheese, and cider, that need to develop flavor slowly, over months and sometimes years. Or a perennial bed. Or the asparagus bed that I still haven’t planted (being too worried all these years about choosing the wrong location, so never choosing any location).
Two birthdays ago, I bought M an orchard. Rather, a potential mini orchard of four apple trees and two pear trees. I figured we’d waited long enough, and after we lost our favorite Golden Russet tree to Hurricane Irene, it seemed a sign to plant a new one, and a few others while we were at it.
We should have bought those trees years ago. We should have planted them the summer after we moved the house. Imagine how big those trees would be now? Not full-grown, by any means, but…bearing fruit.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it now.
We had those trees planted a couple weeks ago. The nursery where I bought them was kind enough to let them stay there until we were ready for them. Then they came with shovels and strong arms and fertilizer and mulch, and they planted.
The beautiful part of having made a decision, having finally taken an action, is that you get the satisfaction of waiting and watching the gradual outcome: the soft layer of white mold developing day by day on the camembert; the regular, reassuring “burping” of the cider as it ferments; the tender branches of the baby trees spreading out, and the first buds appearing next year.
Of course, we’re on the brink of winter now, and the saplings have lost most of the few leaves they had a couple weeks ago. But I like to imagine below the surface, their roots stretching out comfortably for the first time in their own plot of land, feeling at home and settling in for the long haul, waiting on spring.
One thing leads to another.
How could I resist?
Thinking about the blueberry scones made me think about things I could slather on them before shoving them into my mouth.
Meanwhile, I was ruminating on ways to use four perfect, orange, duck egg yolks that were left over after making H an egg-white omelet.
Still thinking about spreadable things that go with scones, I came across a recipe for lemon curd, which I’d never made before.
Isn’t that a puddle of sunshine for a rainy day?
I was worried that I’d have extra lemons and have to figure out a way to use those, but that didn’t happen.
What we did have, though, was an excess of rain. And rain. And rain.
Enough to finally topple our antique Golden Russet apple tree, laden this year with one of the fullest crops of apples we’ve seen it bear in our 17 years here.
In the scheme of things, compared to the farms, barns, houses, roads, and bridges lost and damaged in Vermont in the past week, a tree is not a big thing. Still, we will miss our old friend and the apples it produced, perfect for cider making and unmatchable for pies.
We went out in the drizzle and gathered a bag of apples, nearly ripe and ready.
We’ll make a pie.