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New Apple Trees – Near Beverly Burke Road & 5 SW Road – Grant County, Washington

When I pick up an apple in a grocery store, I almost never think about the amount of effort expended to grow and deliver it to where I am standing. Rather, I think what first strikes me is the emotion of an apple. This emotion comes from growing up near the places where the trees blossom in the spring, fruit box labels from the late 1950’s, full of primary colors, depicting bucolic sentiments about fruit and farms, or that wonderful sweet and tart taste of an apple picked fresh off the tree just weeks after the August light signals the coming of fall. These memories dictate my perspective.

When I am out with the land and my solitary thoughts, my closest companions most of time anymore, and I see an orchard I think hard about steel, rubber, gasoline and diesel, fertilizer, pesticides, computerized logistics, and the raw muscle it takes to grow apples on an industrial scale. I see vast factories where the machines are apple trees that stand so close together that their leaves form a continuous canopy, row upon row, acre after acre, for miles and miles.

Sometimes my thoughts wander to the Mayans and how their civilization collapsed about 1,200 years ago. The best theories seem to point to either they pushed the land until it broke or quite possibly an extended drought occurred that had the same effect. At times I think we too will crash headlong into a similar limit and how that manifests itself could easily rival the devastation brought on by the Black Plague which reduced the population of Europe by some 30 to 60 per cent during the late Middle Ages.

Man’s organizational edifices seem solid as steel and as well-ordered as an orchard but in reality they are not. They are as easily bruised as an apple or worse. Until that time, if ever, I plan on harboring those bucolic, primary colored, thoughts of people passionate about the land and being good stewards of it and willfully ignore that we all are simply doing what has worked in the past and that we are all assuming that everything will continue on perfectly forever.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.

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