Laying on my back-side at the knoll of a grassy hilltop. The sunlight streams at lowly shadowing angles from just above my ever-so-old, slate roofed, clapboard homestead farmhouse that sits along the timber-railed fence. This fence was built by my father with me. This fence runs between the long dirt driveway and the shallow stream where the many clusters of wildflowers of the surrounding fields have come to grow.
Firm and fertile northeastern soils are speckled with clumps of granite stone, speckled with glints of mica as the sunlight teases crevices of each to express dazzling multicolored hues as though the entire night’s sky shown stars within the face of each and every rock. So many other stones as these will remain buried to sleep quietly below moss and brush. This land has not been plowed as so many rugged Yankee farms may have been. This land my family has sown with generations of tiring hands is to provide harvests of apples, pears and cherries.
Summertime on an orchard in southern Vermont brings to mind the necessity of having your mind on your work as much as your heart should be tuned to the tempo of the changing of the seasons. Weather and nature come right to your door, the routines of the days; the endless duties and chores.
Autumn arrives soon… as sultry days of summer have begun to stir a new light. Sunlight retreats over the old oak tree and turns the skies into an apricot-tinged glowing hue.
Sensations brightened as summer comes to an end. Lessening days will soon cast a longer shadow from the farmhouse roof. All darkened and at odd angles of silhouette; a rather shutter-less and sooty profile of this home reaches further along the path to find me. It soon begins to blanket me with the cool and crisp shadows of the coming night.
I have settled myself down this evening at the top of this hill. One of the many apple trees of my orchards splays its entangled branches above my task-worn body now. This tree must be the grandfather of the trees. It’s gnarled trunk and boughs are so withered with a gloss of its weather-beaten bark, so paled by sun mixed with an ample dose of time. Wintertime will come soon and long enough. And trees reside to their permanent place. They do not fly off as the Robin birds have, and the Blue Jay’s have come.
As the sun falls away from this Summery day, the edge of this nighttime brings a cooling whisk of cool and calm all around.
The firewood I had split so many months before will help to become my dinnertime stove. I set a small fire and place a cast iron pan filled with sliced apples, nutmeg and sugar browned with my maple molasses. ‘Apple Crisp’ bakes best on an open fire. The smell of late summer’s fruits, the musty moss now damp with a grassy dew, as baked beans and cider warms me all the way through.
On that hill, with my belly filled. My senses are ignited within the fireside embers pale light. Swirls of spark-teased smoke rises above and surrounds me here.
Clear-skied stars are my nightlight now.
My bed can wait.
~ Eric ©2015 EWK
(inspired by a daydream)