This weekend, for the third year, we headed to an orchard west of Boston, to participate in one of my favorite New England traditions.
Apple picking is still a wonder to this West Texas girl. I am in love with the knobbly, rambling trees, whose branches bend and curve every which way, sprouting skyward and hanging low toward the ground, heavy with dusky, ripe fruit.
The first year, it was sheer novelty and a little overwhelm. The second year, it was sunshine and laughter, and trying to remember which varieties we’d loved the year before. This year, we felt like locals, guiding a group of recent Boston transplants among the rows of Empires and Cortlands and McIntosh.
After we filled our bags to bursting, there were apple cider doughnuts, fresh and warm. Our six-year-old friends smeared their faces with caramel, eating candy apples, and the rest of us munched doughnuts and loaded up on freshly pressed cider and dark, sweet jars of apple butter. We perched on picnic tables, resting our feet and laughing, savoring the crisp air and tart, fresh fruit and the deep joy of being together.
I dug into our haul that evening to make an apple-peach crisp, and I reach into the bag every morning as I leave for work, grabbing an apple for the road. But there are plenty more apples to savor, and I plan to relish every one.