I'm not saying this is my favorite picture of all time, but this has been the only picture i've ever seen that has brought me to tears. Maybe nostlagia from the summer sunrises in Michigan where I grew up. My trail name for backpacking is Summer Song...I think I need this painting.
Wow. There's just something about the atmosphere of this picture...something about a great old tree with widespread branches like this one at sunset. Well, I'm a forest person to begin with. Remarkable piece of art.
THIS SEEMS MORE LIKE A PAINTING THAN A PHOTO. I LOVE THE DIFFERENCE IN TECTURE, THE WAY THE LIGHT FIGHTS DIRRENTLY WITH THE LEAVES THE BARK AND TEH GRASS. THE ROOTS STICKING UP OUT OF THE GROUND WITH THE GRASS SEEMING AS THOUGH IT COULD NOT DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO STRIVE TOWARD THE HAY OF BOTH BARN AND FIELD IS AMAZING. VERY WELL DONE.. THANK YOU
It began with our town having that perfect summer, filled with bees and butterflies, deep, blue skies, long days, and warm star-filled nights. Something stirred in one tree, something that kept it apart; That summer, gave it the perfect start.
There were still leaves on the trees, and the grass was wet in the early dawn, but the fruit was almost gone, It all happened, long after the very last peach; There were no plums, no pears, nothing left on the trees, but one single apple, waiting there, far out of reach; The very last apple left, shiny and red, at the tip top of the tree; It was different than other apples, the whole town would agree; There was something about it, all of that summer rolled up into one, one last apple, at the top of the tree.
The days ahead found a story to tell, about this apple, which held our town in its spell. It wasn’t just the autumn colours that began changing the town; this story is about its people, with their feet on the ground.
At first, no one noticed it way, way up; No one, except for William Bishop, who late last spring lost his kite, lost it high, near to the top; He simply could not get it down, no matter how hard he tried; The kite was still there, still way up high;
Getting his kite seemed impossible, he could never forget; An apple, that high, would be tougher to get; He wouldn’t even try, no matter how juicy and tasty the prize. Still, he told everyone that he met, about the kite and the apple, at the top of the tree; A few of the town folk came by to see.
Ted Callaghan was the town’s Newspaper man; Climbing the tree wasn’t part of his plan, He reports on the daily news, but doesn’t make it. Besides, he hasn’t been fit, not a bit; While looking up at the tree, he just decided to sit. He wrote about this story, about this apple in the tree; Once he told some people about it, everyone wanted to see.
Still more people came from town, and they sat quietly at the edge of the dell; It’s as if everyone were in a kind of pleasant, autumn spell.
Billy Brown thought to take his slingshot and shoot the apple down; It would drop all the way to the ground, and apple sauce would be all that’s found; But then, people would point and yell, “It’s because of him the apple fell!” It’s only an apple, as far as he could tell, but he wouldn’t be the one to break its spell. Besides, he doesn’t want to lose his slingshot; He’s already in trouble, for three windows and two flower pots.
Annabell Mcfall didn't like working, not at all; Besides, the tree was much too tall; She wanted that apple, she wanted it now, and the only question she had was, how? She thought to hire the Matheson boys; They'd climb the tree, sneak by the others, not making any noise; They'd get that apple, up near the kite, but they also might just take a bite; She couldn’t really trust them with her plan, so she didn't try; She just sat there staring up high, and everyone heard her tremendous sigh.
He was as big as they come; There were none bigger, none; Big John Quaker would lift a large horse, high above his head, to prove he’s stronger than his brother Jed, and sometimes it was two pigs instead; A giant of a man, who could shake the large trunk and the apple would fall from the tree; All eyes were on him and the ladies cheered, “Go on Big John, you can do it; you can shake that apple down!” There wasn’t a single doubt, not by anyone from our town; They saw his face grimace and tense, his muscles bulge, and shoes dig up the ground; His lips quivered; His teeth were clenched; His arms strained and back ached; He shook the tree, and the earth quaked; Some people fell over and tumbled down the hill; The ladies thought it was a thrill; The strength of Big John Quaker was something to see, but the apple was still there, still high on the tree; He shook that tree, with all his might, but the only things that fell down were two leaves, and the kite; Big John was strong, for sure, but he made one big mistake; Everyone knows that to remove an apple from a tree, it needs a twist, not a shake.
William Bishop thanked John for saving his kite; There was a small tear, but it was mostly alright.
The twins were there playing checkers and chess; I first thought it was that man, named Nat, who only wears two different hats; He’d sit across himself and play, and then switch to play the other way. This time there were two players, not just him; It always confused me, with him, just who would lose and who would win.
Chad Sullivan wrote his whole plan down, so no one else could hear; He couldn’t be too careful, and didn’t know who may be near; Chad started to share it with me, but when someone else came close to see, he swallowed it all, in one whole piece. I don’t know why it was such a secret to keep, but I was able to get a peek; He never shared his plan completely, but I know it involved a telephone pole, two ice cream trucks, a walnut, a woodchuck, and a whole lot of luck.
A man came by from the county “Farm Growers Association”; He looked closely, at the tree, for classification and identification; The tree was different, somehow; He said, “I’ve never seen one, none quite like this one. It’s an apple tree, this I know, but not a tree that’s very well known.”
According to Mark Lebowitz, everyone can have an apple, one of their very own; Not one that’s high on a tree and completely unknown; Just buy one from his apple cart; they’re all organically grown.
Dozens of people came to see; Grover Densmore who owns the hardware store; Doc Proctor the town Doctor Elizabeth Beacher the Piano Teacher Marian McClenaghan the town librarian;
Constable Bradley said, “There’ll be no such mischief as chopping this tree, not while I’m around.” No one from the town had given any thought to cutting the tree down.
The firemen came, with their biggest fire truck, and instead of an ax, they raised a ladder; The more it climbed higher, it looked even smaller, as if the tree was growing taller. The apple seemed much farther away, some how; I know that’s not possible, now, but the apple stayed well out of the Firemen’s reach; They stopped trying, after the Mayor began his speech.
The Mayor and his wife were sitting down, with their blanket on the ground; He said, “This is town land and the tree belongs to the whole town; Enjoy the day, everyone is welcome to stay.”
Our towns Dog Catcher, Tommy McGee, placed a sign near by the apple tree. He warned all the dogs to stay away; He used his best printing and it looked okay; Then Ted Grinstead said, “That’s not right, dogs can’t read”;
Tommy’s face turned bright red; It was something to see, and was almost as red as the apple, at the top of the tree; So, he made a new sign, one that dogs will obey, No one can read it, but if dogs can, then it’s probably okay. (IMAGE: sign with several dogs paw prints on it)
The weather forecast was calling for, “more of the same”; Mostly sunny skies, partial cloudiness, but no rain; It shouldn’t have been wet, with a light breeze from the east, but there was one problem we couldn’t forget; Dick Brunet , our town weatherman, hasn’t ever been right yet.
Most everyone agreed with Dick, when he said, “The apple should stay there and not be picked.” “We could predict the coming winter weather by it. When it falls, by itself, it will tell everyone, when winter starts and the cold will come; It’s not a groundhog, but just as good as one.”
The wind picked up from the west and clouds raced by; It started to rain and dark clouds filled the sky; Dick, the weather man, was nowhere to be seen, and we all knew why; No one was happy, there were frowns on each and every face, and everyone was running for some drier place.
“There’s a storm brewing!” yelled Grovener Grace.
The heavy rain, lightning, and thunder did what they may; When the wind was full blowing, the apple simply blew away; Like a seed on the wind, it will blow somewhere new; Start a new tree, and grow where it flew;
The weatherman was wrong, again; The wind blew so hard, that Abner McBain lost his farms weather vane; It was stormy for the rest of the day and all through that night; Everyone stayed shut up tight in their homes, until the next days light;
The storm hit our town hard, and it was quite a mess; Some trees were knocked over and branches were blown down, by that wind from the west;
Early that next morning, some people headed straight for the dell; They had to know, to see if the apple was still on the tree, or even if the tree fell;
The tree was gone, not hit by lightning, just gone; No sign that it was ever there, not a mark on the ground it was on. The tree wasn’t there, but it didn’t fall. The ground was flat, with no stump, no roots, not any sign at all; It couldn’t have walked away on its own, and a whole tree, that size, can’t just blow away. “There one day and gone the next,” that’s what some of the town people say.
Birds will fly south, it’s true; If helped by the wind, even a tree may go somewhere new. Leaves are like feathers and branches like wings. If not for the apple, we wouldn’t have ever noticed anything.
The tree could find another place, like our town, and grow apples where the people dream, and with a summer as perfect, as ours had been. Everyone will always remember that day, and the tree, with the apple at the top; With a wind blowing, just the right way, it may even return to our town someday.