Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apples of my eye

Hi. Thanks for stopping by. Is there any flower that is more autumnal than chrysanthemums? Despite, or maybe because of, this afternoon's 90 ° temperatures, and the promise of more of the same in the near future, by this time tomorrow the North side of the driveway will have these 6 mums planted. They'll go in during the cool of the morning. Today's grocery shopping also yielded the season's first Zestar apples. Honeycrisp, my favorites, should be available within a week or two. Even though these days I don't get out hunting and fishing as much as I used to several years ago, I still enjoy and appreciate the season from now through Thanksgiving more than almost any other time of year. (It's been my observation that Spring in Minnesota is, at best, a chancy experience which no sooner settles in than it usually decides to change to hot Summer in mere nano-hours.) At the other end of Summer, we find apple season, Halloween, farm harvests, Winter squash, pumpkins, free range, preferably heritage (Red Bourbon) turkey, life in Minnesota doesn't get much better than that for some of us. It's no wonder that each year about this time, I get the restless urge to migrate, to follow the geese  and swans and cranes and ducks south. I've been seeing more and more flocks of Canadas in the air during the past week or so and flocks of cranes in the fields are growing in numbers. Have you ever heard Tom Rush (who was at the Cedar Cultural Center last night) sing Joni Mitchell's wonderful song "The Urge for Going?" Every time I hear it, it makes me wistful, but I'm never quite sure for what. On the other hand, if I did go, and went far enough south, apples wouldn't be local and possibly not as tart or crisp. We humans have been involved with apples since the beginning. Dorianne Laux captures much of our history with this fruit of fall in this poem.

A Short History of the Apple

  by Dorianne Laux
The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through
living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.
   —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929

Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber's bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain's honeybees:
white man's flies. O eat. O eat.
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 Thanks for listening. Come again when you can. Rants, raves and reflections, with a rasher of poetry, served here daily,