apple picking the first week of october is tradition

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apple picking the first week of october
is tradition, that hard cider scent
warmed by sun just enough
to lure bees to buzz drunk above orchard grass.  we pick
buckets full of mcintosh, still hard on the tree, but blushing
to baking softness in a week, sweet but with a tart
that draws mouths into smiles involuntarily.

the first year i pulled my son behind me
in a wagon with the apples, he held each one like a gift.
later, peeling them, each he held had two tiny tooth marks
like vampire kisses just breaking the skin.
he teethed on apples, evidence I removed
with  a paring knife and a smile.

fall apples: heady and smelling already of pies
and cinnamon, sauce and the potpourri drift of spiced rings
in the dehydrator, the last fruit we harvest before november
sinks its teeth in, and those teeth bite deeper
than apple skin.

***at Dverse today, we are writing about fall foods.  You know I had to choose apples.

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58 thoughts on “apple picking the first week of october is tradition

  1. he teethed on apples…how cute is that? smiles….we used to have an orchard near us and took the boys picking their first couple years…we will go pumpkin picking soon…i love cider though….cool piece…

  2. when you write about the goodness of the earth.. there is such a “comfort” that emits from your life Susan. I like to “watch” and join along as I read

  3. That is so cute, to have teeth marks in the apples..lol
    I love apple pie with cinnamon and cream …gosh.. made my mouth water at the thought of it. This is such a lovely read Susan…I could see you pulling your boy along in a wagon as you collect apples :)
    We had three apple trees in the yard where we used to live, two were green/yellow apples and the other was a red apple tree. Wish I had been a cook, we’d have had a lot of apple dishes …lol

  4. My poor taste buds! I have this sweet-sour taste in my mouth. Your use of descriptive imagery is EXCELLENT! I loved the reference to teeth and biting; made me think of that moment when you puncture the skin of an apple and take away its’ breath. A really warm piece. You’re such a pro! :)

  5. One of those memories that all year supermarket food can take away unless you only buy what’s in local season. As a child before supermarkets we grew our own apples and picked in Autumn. What wasn’t used for jam or apple pies were wrapped in newspaper and stored in the dark. Wrinkled but with crunch still they could last to spring!

  6. What a lovely idea, to write about apple picking. I love visiting apple orchards in fall. Nothing like the crunch of a VERY crisp apple. You mentioned Macs. I like them too. Love that first tangy bite!

  7. It is all there: the texture of the season; the sounds; the moisture and dryness of the air; the very present, determined bees. I like how the poems sounds like a conversation or chorus of the characters and elements you are writing about. It’s almost as though the speaker is talking in medias res.

    • Thanks, Jeremy–yes–the poem came to me as if I was right in the middle of it all, even though it was last week I picked the apples. Thanks much for liking this & the comment.

  8. What a sweet poem. I especially liked “he held each one like a gift.
    later, peeling them, each he held had two tiny tooth marks
    like vampire kisses just breaking the skin.”… lovely image.

  9. like vampire kisses just breaking the skin.
    he teethed on apples, evidence I removed
    with a paring knife and a smile.

    Just a sample of the the fine word-crafting here.

  10. What a great memory of your son! I could just see him sitting in that wagon, sampling every fruit. I always pick fall apples from friends’ trees for large batches of applesauce that I substitute for oil in everything I bake the rest of the year, so I know all about those drunken bees. Great write.

    • Susan L Daniels

      Thanks, Julie. I can still see those 2 tiny teethmarks. How funny that a 13-month-old with those timy teeth would try to take on a wagon-full of apples ;)

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