I am done with apple-picking now
These pictures were taken in 2007 when Caroline Carver, Penelope Shuttle, Geraldine Green and I visited New York, Long Island and Woodstock during a warm October, at the invitation of poet George Wallace.
As a Maid of Kent, I have a special love of apples and was delighted by the abundant apples for sale everywhere we travelled out of the city. I was also pleased to see the old measure of a ‘peck’ still in use. It’s a dry measure of two gallons – two pecks make a kenning and four, a bushel.
Robert Frost’s masterful poem ‘After Apple Picking’ is dense and redolent with ideas of time, harvest, regret, resolution, consequences, sleepy perceptions – all conjured through the very physical descriptions of the ache of his instep arch on the ladder, the rumble of apples being unloaded, the disorienting sway of the ladder in the branches.
My summer has been intense and rich. And when I say summer, that is long past now and I find it hard to believe I last posted on here in August. It was an uncharacteristically long and warm summer that’s lasted well into October.
I’ve just pulled up and thrown out my tomato plants and runner beans vines that were still yielding ripe fruit. They seemed at odds with the falling leaves and cool, damp web-laden mornings of autumn. Yes, I am done with tomato-tending now.
It’s been a rich time of foraging. Sloe gin and bullace vodka are tucked away in the cool attic. Blackberry wine, set going by my house-sitter as I travelled, is now ready for bottling and gleams, a potent, ecclessiastical purple in its demijohn in the garage.
It’s all gathered in but I’m not going to sleep yet, neither a human nor a woodchuck’s sleep. As the days darken, it’s time to go inward, to look for inspiration. I’m done with long hours walking outside, swimming in the sea, travelling on holiday or work, watering the garden but I’m ready to read, write, create human fruit now that nature is entering her fallow time. Now it’s time to light the woodburner, go back to neglected books, gather up a different kind of harvest.