Settle Down

My parents, younger siblings and I went apple picking today, something we haven’t done in a while. Certainly not in three years; we haven’t gone and picked apples since we moved.

I’m typically a fairly predictable person: I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to associate with anybody, I just want to stay in my bedroom and read/write/be generally antisocial. I enjoy my life as a hermit, thank you very much.

Apple picking, though, brings out a different Carissa. There are quite a few things that make me react as drastically as the pristine perfection of a nice, gritty apple plucked from a bowing tree, but few have the same nostalgic affect (effect? I don’t know…); I have more than a handful of bubbly, happy memories of reaching ever higher for that absolutely gorgeous red apple, biting into the crisp white flesh of an unwashed fruit, surrounded by towering trees that dwarf my small frame……

I must admit, though, that this time was a slight disappointment to those memories.

That’s not to say that the apples weren’t delicious, that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy myself. I did. However, the apple farm (is that what they’re called?) has become industrialized, marketed, whatever you want to call it, since the last time we visited. They rely on dumb tourists now, who want to watch pig races and milk cows and taste-test cider and ride ziplines and maybe pick a couple apples for the hell of it.

We went to pick apples because it’s fun to feel self-sufficient, to wash and polish those imperfect perfections rather than buying some waxed mess from the supermarket. I mean, it’s not as though we aren’t going to actually USE the apples; my mom plans on making apple cider, apple crisps, apple fritters, apple pies, apple juice… But this particular apple place (B.J. Reece Orchards, in Elijay) had only one tiny little portion of their orchard open, and the apples there were either too small to bother with, too high to pick, or splattered on the ground. Luckily, we managed to get a peck of half-decent apples, but the rest we just bought pre-packaged in their apple house.

Downsides to this trip: we drove a few hours to pick apples for about thirty minutes, they did not even have Granny Smith apples (at ALL!), and it was warm for October. And my siblings were extremely obnoxious in the car, which caused a headache and a bruise on my ribs.

Upsides to this trip: there were multiple, but most importantly: APPLE DONUTS. On top of that, we bought delicious apples, cold apple cider, raw peanuts (we make our own boiled peanuts now- yum!), an enormous cabbage, a trip into memory lane, and the realization that not every good experience ought to remain untainted by reality, because sometimes disappointment is liberating.

If the good is not quite as wonderful as we remember, is not everything better than it feels?

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