I’ve been meaning to drop by Mint Springs all week. It’s that time of year, my favorite. Bruce has heard me talking about it every night and I still haven’t found time to drive the five miles west of home to get there. My window of opportunity is closing,  next week will be too late.  

 This afternoon, Bruce sat at the kitchen table looking at the wooden box of golden delicious apples on the floor.  “What are your plans for the rest of the day?” He asked.

 I knew his plans. He wanted to make applesauce. That’s what he’s been talking about all week.

 “I want to go to Mint Springs,” I said, not following his gaze.

 “If we don’t do something with these apples, they’re going to rot.”

 “I know,” I said.  I’ve been avoiding them.  We had spent the better part of a cold evening in early October culling them from the orchard in Batesville. I was the one who insisted we go. Bruce had worked a full day mulching and was tired, but he followed me out to the car and made the ride to the apple orchard.  

The trees are planted on the side of a  terraced mountain, each row on its own rise. It was a gray, bitter day and I had forgotten my apple picking sack. I gathered the ends of my jacket together, forming a pocket. We gathered apples until I looked nine months pregnant with a bumpy baby.

 Bruce kept picking while I made the trek back to the car to unload my burden.  Halfway down the slope, I slipped, fell, and rolled to the ditch below. I lay there amongst my harvest, laughing and wondering why I bothered with all the hassle when buying a can of applesauce in the store is so much easier. That was three weeks ago, and the apples still waited.

 “What do you want to do?” he asked, bringing me back to present. He was also sighing because he knew his argument would be lost on me when I had something else on my mind.

“I really want to go to Mint Springs,” I said with more forcefulness.

 Bruce frowned in that way he does when he’s thoughtful, or scheming. “You know there’s that apple tree over there I haven’t checked yet,” he said, suddenly excited. “Get your camera, let’s go.” I gathered my equipment and headed to the car.

My idea of a trek to Mint Springs and Bruce’s is different. We follow the same path around the lake. I look for reflection in the water, color on the trees, texture, and symmetry, a feeling.  He searches for apples, firewood, and stocked trout.

I’m not complaining. I got my shots, just like I wanted. And Bruce, he collected enough apples to replace the ones we lost to my procrastination, and some firewood for the stove, but no trout.  He’s going back tomorrow with his own equipment, a fishing rod and tackle.  I’m staying home to make applesauce.

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6 Responses to “Searching”

  1. dwg Says:

    beautiful. such evocative prose. and for anyone that knows you, picturing you laughing in the ditch surrounded by your apples is just a hoot. so you!

  2. OldMack Says:

    You and Bruce are having too much fun. My grannie, whose cabin on the Little Rock Creek (west of Bakersville, in Mitchell County, NC) had a small orchard of crab apples and Granny Smiths. She cooked apple butter in the huge cast iron cauldron out in her yard, stirring it with a boat oar. We always came home from a visit with half a dozen cans (Mason jars) of her honey-colored apple butter; every jar had at least one bee preserved in it.

    Lovely pictures in prose and photographs.

    • train-whistle Says:

      the two of us can usually find fun wherever we happen to be Mack. Bruce’s family does the apple butter thing (see Sept. 2010 archives for that story). Too much work for my taste, although I love the results on hot buttered biscuits. Thanks as always for reading my stories and for your story-comments, they are such a treat for me.

  3. Steve Says:

    Have to fight the bears for them. Crisp old-time varieties. Just a tree or two, all remaining of the old log homesteads. Sorry Train, I’m with Bruce on the fishing.

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