I want to write about the bitter cold and how pretty the snow looks over everything. I want to write about the twenty-three brown apples hanging from the tree in our backyard and how my five-year-old daughter noticed them.
“There are more apples that won’t let go than there were last year,” she said to me as I mixed together chopped pickles, mayo, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and tuna for sandwiches.
“I know, buddy. Last year there were eleven. The year before that nine. Now, there’s twenty-three.”
“Why are so many hanging on?”
“I’m not sure,” I said.
“I bet it’s because they don’t want to die,” she said. And she ran away down the hallway to play cops and robbers with her brother. Something they started doing over Christmas break that really has a hold on them and has surprisingly brought them closer together.
I spent a long time mixing together the ingredients for my lunch. My wife thinks I’m crazy with many things and one of them is the amount of time I put into the preparation of food. Whatever I make—breakfast, a simple sandwich, dinner, or even BBQ—I have to start early because the process is like a ritual to me. Sometimes things need to be just so before you can move on.
Maybe that’s what the apples are waiting for.
Maybe my daughter needed that break in her day—looking out the big kitchen window when she was supposed to be arresting her brother for burglary. And maybe I needed her. To stop and remind me that time is running out and that there’s nothing we can do, but hang on and hope, even after the last bit of sunshine is gone, the nutrients are no longer working their way up the roots toward us, and all we can do is wait it out—the bitter, wintry cold that is inevitable and keeps coming, working us toward the end by way of snowdrifts that sparkle like diamonds, lopsided snowmen with crooked smiles, and a soft white blanket that covers the world.
(for B.K.: enjoy the otherside, big guy…we’ll miss you)