A is for Apricots
I lived in a pretty small house growing up, at the end of a dead end gravel road in Twin Falls Idaho. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, since it was just my mom, my dad, me and the animals (Sha-boo our dog and a handful of cats through out the years) My mother was very overprotective of me, so instead of spending most of my days inside, I escaped to the backyard. It was completely fenced in, with a wooden fence painted faux redwood, a chain link fence spanning the divide between me and the church parking lot, and the back fence that kept me just far enough away from a small ditch to make it “so not fun” (but maybe that can be the written part of another Letter Adventure in the coming weeks)
The greatest thing about this backyard, other than the well used and well loved swing set I got when I was 5, was the 3 apricot trees spaced in a triangle. I loved these trees. The very back one, nearest the ditch I could not get to, had the smallest fruit on it’s limbs, but it was also the sweetest. Sadly though, it was also the hardest tree to get any fruit from. All the branches were always out of my reach and unlike the other 2 trees, it did not have a nice easy to reach boughs for me to climb through. The closest I got to tasting the sweetness of its fruit was finding one on the ground that had not yet met the worms or birds in its fall. The 2nd tree, never did give me very good vibes. It was one of those trees that just grew wrong. I didn’t play by it very much. It’s fruit wasn’t ever very pretty. Nor were it’s leaves and it’s tree limbs seem to grow in mysterious patterns that could really unsettle you. It looked alive, with budding fruit and lush greenery, but felt dead. It was, if it had been a person, a very grumpy tree.
Oh but that first tree. My salvation. My tree of refuge, my tree of passion, my tree of imagination. That was my tree. Somehow it had grown to have a perfect place to climb up and a secondary perfect place to sit higher into it’s leafy home. This, I was told was not just an apricot tree, but a peach-cot, having somehow been blended together. The fruit was bigger, not as sweet, but abundantly easy to reach. Here I would sit, watching the sunlight fliter through the leaves and hit my hair and my hands and giggle as it would play across the ground. Or here the redbreasted robin twittle her song. Here I could escape, as long as my feet didn’t touch the ground, I was safe.
I could go on and on. I’m amazed now to learn, after all these years that the seeds of apricots contain deadly amounts of cyanide. Eating, in moderation, green apricots was a past-time of ours, and I’m sure I ate more than enough of the seeds (maybe that’s why I’m *twitch* why I am the way *twitch* I am?) to have poisoned a small country. I loved how the squirrels would be frequent visitors to our backyard in their search for the yummy dried remnants of the seeds from last year, and how, ever so often, if I sat quietly in that tree, they would get close enough to even touch. (no, I didn’t know about rabies either back then!)
So, My letter A for the ABC Along, is Apricots! I haven’t had one for over 11 years. I just can’t bring myself to buy the hopeless looking mistakes I see in
the produce section of the supermarket. They seem more like what the
grumpy tree would have produced than my lovely sacred tree. Not since my father died, and I had to move away from that perfect, peaceful, wonderful backyard, and enter that dreary world of adulthood, have I tasted the fresh sweetness. I know my tree is still there, I’ve seen it, in the twilight hours that I make my husband drive by my old home, but sadly, my swing set is gone. .