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Eating Apples Off the Tree

Debra Redalia


I arrived in Sonoma County, California, on 27 September 2017.

I had just driven across the country from Florida in a rented moving truck, a week after Hurricane Irma blew right over my house.

Ten days later the massive Sonoma county fires broke out only 10 miles away.

It was a time of change for me if there ever was one.

I didn’t choose to come to Sonoma County. Larry brought me. I needed to be with Larry and Larry needed to be here for various reasons, so I sold my house in Florida and moved back home to California after 15 years away. I now live with Larry and his mom and two of his siblings—a brother and a sister—in their house instead of my own (and we are all still here three years later).

During that week of ravaging fires, when we were watching television all day and keeping the sprinklers going on the house (because nobody knew where the fire would go next), one morning I came to the breakfast table and there were apples. Apples from a Golden Delicious tree that had been in the yard for years.

These apples were just picked, still cold from the low overnight temperature, and oh so crisp.

I cut my apple around the core with a knife the way I like to do: I slice off one side, then turn the apple and slice off the next side and the next and the next until the core is left in a neat square. This method is simple and quick and clean and precise.

And I began to eat the apple, piece by piece.

When I got to the third piece I suddenly realized that this side of the apple tasted different from the first side. Of course it would. Each side of an apple has it’s own exposure to the sun and elements and so would develop a variety of colors and textures and flavors. It’s only natural.

But in our industrial world, apples are bred and selected to be identical in size, shape, color, and flavor. Apples that don’t conform to this artificial standard of perfection become applesauce in a jar.

That morning, at age 62, I finally ate an apple. And something in me woke up.