The most gorgeous fall day...
As I delved deeper in the orchard, away from the city noise, the rows of apple trees created the perfect perspective when the parallel lines intersected at the horizon. Moving from tree to tree, I was gathering the most delightful apples in the world... Somehow, I lost my son and husband along the way and my only companion was the sound of my footsteps on the wet ground and the dull thud when flicking near the stem of a nicely ripe apple. I was devoting minutes to every single fruit cuddling in my palm... to feel its coldness, to revel in its perfectly round shape, to study the shades of its color... I couldn't help, but clean one McIntosh with the corner of my shirt and take a bite... a big, juicy-tender, crunchy bite... and another bite, and another bite... Suddenly, I found my 7-year-old self on the roof of my grandparents' barn picking small green apples from the only gorgeous apple tree in the garden. My granny would slice, carefully spread the apple pieces on newspaper pages and leave them on the old stone stairs to dry under the gentle autumnal sun. In winter, she would make a dry fruit compote, guaranteeing us the taste of the fall harvest. My grandpa would use the bruised apples, plums and pears to make his signature fruit grappa, "the elixir for the soul". My mom would bake a simple apple strudel that will fragrant the house reminding us of the goodness of the tree. My dad would put apple slices in his herbal tea inviting us to warm our bodies after a long day outside...
Strangely enough, or perhaps not so, I feel closer emotionally when I am so far away from my extended family physically...
As my bag became more and more full, my heart seemed to get full, too...
This time, I think, our traditional visit to the orchard wasn't only about the simple pleasure of picking apples, or buying locally, or appreciating the hard work of the farmers; rather, it's was about the goodness of apple, the marvelous nature creation of core, seeds, and sweet flavored flesh wrapped tidily in crisp skin. Nested in the leaves of the branches, these beauties will fill our baskets and will produce applesauce, apple pies, apple strudels, apple cider, baked apples... Then just like we sleep every night to store up energy, these apple trees will sleep all winter to store energy to make apples for the next harvest...
The giving tree... the symbol of the sacred memory of our human parental love 
We had a meaningful day.
We had baskets filled with apples.
We had gifts of generosity and love...
I had my soul overflowing with gratefulness...

Have you been apple picking yet this fall?

Baked Apples

Yields 4 apples


4 large apples such as Northern Spy, Rome Beauty, Winesap
4 teaspoons butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
almond or walnuts
blueberries (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the core from each apple. Place cored apples into a baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together the butter and brown sugar. Add oats, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and salt. Fill each apple with the mixture, dividing it evenly between apples. Top with blueberries.
Pour a little warm water or apple juice to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve warm.


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