By Tim Kalinowski
It’s fantastic seeing a tree full of apples in my backyard. With the rain this year, one might say it could be expected. I still find it a miracle nonetheless that these marvelous things grow right here in south east Alberta, and I can go on up to the tree and pluck one, wash the skin and chomp it down. The best supermarket in the world is one that can be found in your own garden, or in your own backyard.
I have always had this reverence for the food that grows of its own accord every year; fruit trees, wild game and the like. I remember as I kid at about this time of year heading out with all my brothers and sisters, my parents, uncle and grandparents to harvest the fruit trees nearby. We picked crabapples by the bushelful, Saskatoons, Chokecherries, Gooseberries, wild strawberries, rhubarb and even a few plums.
It was hard work, but I remember the joy in taking part in such a communal effort and the delicious bounty my grandmother and mother could make of it once all the fruits were gathered in and prepared. Chokecherry syrup or jelly, home made crabapple or Saskatoon pie, crabapple and rhubarb sauce, plum pudding, canned Gooseberries in cream sauce. There were so many feasts brought to table by our own hands.
Sadly, it seems those days are ebbing in memory. Distant and only dimly remembered now are the places and things I felt 35 years ago on a little farm in south west Saskatchewan when we harvested the berry crops.
And yet, to this day, I cannot pass a laden fruit tree in the late summer or early fall without plucking at least one handful or one specimen to eat; out of reverence for the miracle of life, if for no other reason. I need no other reason.
So to have this abundance in my backyard, first the plum tree in late July and now these wonderful apples in late August, is a blessing I cannot decline nor dismiss.
There is something in the world which loves us, a pulsebeat out in nature only few ever stop to listen to; something which draws us out into the ecstasy and abundance of life. Fruit for the larder; game for table, all waiting out there to be harvested with gratitude, love and respect for the miracles they are.