Y is for yawn. Chilled, gassed, waxed apple zombies in supermarket bins, undead-never-alive fruit. The devil would have trouble tempting Eve with them apples, be she ever so bored with the endless perfection of paradise. I see her, naked but for her hair, spitting out a floury mouthful, puzzled in the New World produce section. Yeh, nah, Adam, I’ve no idea what the fuss was about, don’t bother tasting that. Let her step into my garden instead, where gnarled, old-man-bearded trees are teaching me the magic of apples.
Bright fruit beckon from the very tips of the tallest branches. Birds answer their call, and carve one perfect cone deep into each fruit. Red apples sweep the garden into once-upon-a-time. I step carefully to avoid crushing sleeping princesses. Leaf-shaded fruit is green, yet so ripe that several thunk onto the grass at the least touch. The best apples are tiger-striped by the sun, translucent orange on green. Even the smallest swells its skin like Sophia Loren fills a skirt. I bite into fruit in the autumn sun, after just a Huckleberry wipe on my shorts. No poisons, no need to wash, but each bite is an adventure: ants, beetles, larvae have colonised most of them. Half the apple is corruption and decay --a happy home from the bug's viewpoint--half is pristine palest green crystalline flesh, so firm that it tests the strength of my teeth. A solid crunch echoes at the back of my head. A gentle sweetness, sharper at the skin, floods my mouth. Juice washes my chin.
Comfort me with apples says the song of Solomon. Yes, later, with wrinkled winter apples, with pies, jams and jellies and tarts. But for now, as the last of the year’s heat melts my bones, tempt me, thrill me with red apples straight from the tree.