another postcard, the stray apple, after weeks without rain


I know that apples don’t come true from seed. Blossom from a Merton Beauty, say, is pollinated by an insect bearing reciprocal pollen from another apple—here,it would be a crabapple—and although the resulting apples would be true to their tree, their seeds would be the children of the Merton Beauty and the crabapple. One in ten thousand of those seeds might produce something worth eating. Who are the parents of this stray apple tree? It started growing before the Merton Beauty began its small production of fruit. Did this tree sprout from a seed spit over the side of the deck or excreted by birds or even seeds from the compost into which I regularly deposited cores and peelings from apples given us by friends in autumn? Belle of Boskoops from Joe and Solveigh, for instance, which make delectable fall desserts and cook up into beautiful chutney. Or else a seed from the few rotten apples from the bottom of a box bought from the Hilltop Farm in Spences Bridge, their flavor so intense you could taste dry air, the Thompson River, the minerals drawn up from the soil, faintly redolent of Artemesia frigida. This stray is all the more wonderful for its mysterious provenance, its unknown parents, and its uncertain future, for it grows out of a rock cleft, on a dry western slope.

—from Euclid’s Orchard, Mother Tongue Publishing, 2017.

2 thoughts on “another postcard, the stray apple, after weeks without rain”

  1. Pink blush, globe shape and those lovely big leaves… I bet we could trace her ancestral line with one sniff, one small bite, an enjoyable chew, and at least a bigger picture. 🙂 I think, though, it would be fair to say that all apple seeds give fruit well worth using, although not all for dessert apples, because there’s always cider, as Thoreau taught us. I hope she keeps teasing you and the bear doesn’t get to her first. Perhaps you and the bear could share, in the Month of Wild Apples Picking? Oh yes, that would be fine.

    1. The apples are very lovely to look at — yes, the pink blush, a bit of freckling on some — but they taste like damp cardboard. I will take some close-ups a bit later (this is the busiest week of the summer…) and maybe we can give her a family! So far the bear hasn’t found her but then she returns to the crabapple below the vegetable garden year after year and I’m happy to give her and her cubs that fruit (though I wish they wouldn’t break the branches). Stay cool. Wind has changed and we have blue sky today. More smoke your way?

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