Fall reminds me of climbing high into apples trees to join my church congregation in picking and selling large red delicious apples as part of our annual church fundraiser. How I loved my perches high in the trees, munching on sweet apples that had not seen a refrigerator. As a boy, this was the height of happiness. We returned later, when the leaves had fallen and air had grown quite cold, to prune. Seeing a tree, I feel a compulsive desire to prune, to improve its shape, its health, its fruit-bearing potential. And, at pruning time, I contemplate whether, during the previous year, I adequately pruned myself, to improve my shape, my health, my fruit-bearing potential.
A TIME TO PRUNE
is the time to prune apple trees,
with sheers and saws and snippers.
All upward-pointing twigs must go:
leave the balance to bud and to bloom,
to offer hanging fruit
to the groping hands of Fall that fill
brown paper sacks and assorted used boxes
with flaps folded in.
Top it flat,
declutter it within,
to admit Summer’s ripening sun,
with no suckers upward pointing,
stealing the sap of Spring
from the blossoms, from the fruit.
Send the children scurrying high
to pluck sun-red apples,
to crunch sweet freshness,
to gaze across orchard top to ocean’s horizon.
Sell the bulging bags and boxes
by the roadside,
at the church bazaar.
Oil and sharpen the shears.
Roger Evans Baker is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road. The non-fiction book is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. Rose Gluck Reviews recently reviewed Rabbit Lane in Words and Pictures.