You won’t remember it—the apple orchard
We wandered through one April afternoon,
Climbing the hill behind the empty farm.
A city boy, I’d never seen a grove
Burst in full flower or breathed the bittersweet
Perfume of blossoms mingled with the dust.
A quarter mile of trees in fragrant rows
Arching above us. We walked the aisle,
Alone in spring’s ephemeral cathedral.
We had the luck, if you can call it that,
Of having been in love but never lovers—
The bright flame burning, fed by pure desire.
Nothing consumed, such secrets brought to light!
There was a moment when I stood behind you,
Reached out to spin you toward me…but I stopped.
What more could I have wanted from that day?
Everything, of course. Perhaps that was the point—
To learn that what we will not grasp is lost.
~Dana Giola “The Apple Orchard”
“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields… and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
In despairing moments, we recollect and hold on to memories most precious to us, recalling what makes each moment, indeed life itself, special and worthwhile.
It can be something so seemingly simple that becomes the most cherished and retrievable–the aroma of cinnamon in a warm kitchen, the splash of colors in a carefully tended garden spot, the cooing of mourning doves as light begins to dawn, the velvety soft of a newborn foal’s fur, the embrace of welcoming arms, the wish that we had reached out and grasped something forever lost to us due to our hesitation in the moment.
As we approach the memories brought fresh by upcoming Mother’s, Father’s and Memorial Days, it is those simple things we recall and treasure, pass on in stories, and never leave buried in the ground. The legacy of these memories lives and thrives in the next and then the next generation, to be told and retold, not to rest, eventually to be forgotten, under a marker.
Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? Do you remember?