The Meaning Of the Apple Blossom
The single apple blossom floated out from under the small concrete bridge on which I was standing, staring down at the flowing creek water below.
I don’t know where the apple blossom came from, but I suspected it had somehow made its way from the small orchard next door to our small country bungalow and somehow gotten itself into the creek.
At any rate, it was in the creek now, caught up by the flow and was slowly making its way downstream past the old outhouse sitting on the creek bank behind the Fox family home.
The creek water was also catching the rays of the afternoon sun and when the water rippled over the rocks in the creek bed, the sunlight danced in a myriad of diamond-like flashes and reflections. It was a bit hypnotic but altogether romantic causing a lot of silent introspection.
Watching the apple blossom floating away like that, so seemingly aimlessly, was very comforting to me; very relaxing – making my mind wander like the water below the bridge was wandering.
All kinds of thoughts floated randomly through my head.
I don’t know why and I can never explain it, but one of those random thoughts was a memory … the memory of the time my pet cat shit down my leg when I had picked it up and squeezed it too hard.
Another memory was of the Fry brats who lived in a dilapidated old house pretty close to that small bridge on that country road. They were as poor as church mice and most of what they had to eat every day were bowls of cold cereal with milk from the nearby Frank farm … whenever they could get it.
I remembered the smell of Fry’s house … it was musky and dank and grimly moist … the odor of unwashed clothes and unclean bodies permeated the place … I think there were several of them all sleeping in the same bed together …not at all as pleasant as the orchard full of apple blossoms.
These were the days when I could freely eat the reddish blossoms from the thousands of red clover plants that abounded in the fields and yards of our remote country neighborhood in our mostly agricultural hometown. Red and white clover blossoms in season, fresh wild dandelions while yet young and tender, cooked in meat grease and served with meals. Wild blackberries growing in abundance along the old railroad tracks leading out-of-town past the old feed grinding mill.
The old feed grinding mill where the local farmers would take their harvested grain to be ground into food for their animals. The old feed grinding mill where the old man who had owned it hung himself from the rafters one spring day … Hung himself and was found swaying back and forth, his face frozen in a mask of death … found by his own teen aged son.
The creek where the apple blossom floated away was the same one where I found a small island in the middle of the water and dug a hole and buried a handful of pennies, hoping to come back some day in the future and find them again …. which i never did.
The apple blossom that fell off the old apple tree in the same orchard, long abandoned but still producing fruit, where some of the local kids held a pet show one day and refused to let me enter my dog. Some of those kids were evil. They would eat my candy when I had any to share. They would be my friends as long as the candy held out but when the candy was gone, the kids were gone too. They would be my friends as long as they were playing with my toys too … but after they had broken my toys, they would go their separate ways again. Nasty, evil, selfish damned brats as I recall.
But I would give a lot to see them again if only I could.
I am sure they are all dead now. It has been so long ago that they must surely all be dead and buried by now. I know that this one kid, a kid who I shall call “Tacky Jack” is dead for sure. He is the one who used to throw rocks at me when I was a small kid. Then when I got to be a bigger kid, he was the one who took me into the attic of their old garage and tried to teach me the facts of life. Later he became a soldier, like the rest of his brothers. After he was a soldier, he became a drunk, also like the rest of his brothers … and now he is dead like all the rest of his family.
I went back to that old town a few years ago and to my amazement, that same old unattended orchard was still there … still bearing fruit …Not much has changed …
But I never saw another apple blossom floating down that creek.