Apple trees

Apple Perfect weather for apple picking. Blue sky, autumn breeze, leaves starting to think about what color they might turn as October rolls in. My friends and I only hoped to fill one bag, which seemed like a reasonable aspiration. We knew which trees were supposed to be ripe for picking, and lightheartedly set out.

Most of the apples at eye level were spotted or marred, so I started scanning higher up. The apples looked better up there, but I couldn’t even come close to reaching them. So I took a deep breath and started to climb. After successfully climbing (maybe 4ft.) I still couldn’t quite reach, so a friend handed me a special apple-picking-extender tool (name obviously made up by yours truly). The tool was made just for the task of pulling apples from trees and catching them, but it was really awkward to use. Friends from the ground were coaching me on how to use the apple-picking-extender and pointing out which apples I should go for. After struggling for a few minutes, I knocked a few  to the ground, hitting my friends in the process. After all that, the apples ended up being spotted and a little bruised anyway — they still weren’t perfect fruit.

As I stood in the apple tree, surrounded by marked up, scrawny apples, I couldn’t help but think, “I had no idea this would be hard.”

The day was perfect. I took a risk (albeit a small one) and climbed a tree. I had the right tools for the task. There were people there to support me and give advice. The tree was full of apples. And still, it was harder than I anticipated.

This summer my life saw a bunch of changes. Good changes, but change nonetheless. I feel like I’ve taken some risks and jumped out of my comfort zone. I have the tools I need to really live well. There are so many wonderful people in my life to coach and support me. It’s like I’m poised in the tree of my life, ready to go, and it still isn’t easy.

In theory, I know that life isn’t supposed to be easy. It’s a beautiful but complicated thing. The goals we set and the jobs we have and the people we love are all complex and imperfect. But somewhere in my brain I believed that if everything was set in place just so, the complexity of life would settle down and become simple.

I got down from the tree and tried a few of the apples. Grocery stores wouldn’t be too interested in the blemished, tiny organic things, but it turns out the spots didn’t leave them useless. They still tasted crisp, fresh, tangy and great.

We all left the orchard with a bag full of apples, and I left more ready to embrace life as the amazing, complicated, bittersweet gift that it is. Applesxo, Mallory

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