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Take. Eat.

Take. Eat.

 

What has so often been a stroll

has, today, become a pilgrimage.

My old-man black church-shoes, 

wide and tired

are wet with dew

but so connected to the land

like an extension cord in a puddle.

Quiet. Rubbery. Electrified.

 

The apple tree in the field

by my house is red and green

as if announcing an incarnation. 

And Santa. 

Each apple is perfect, the way they can be

without pesticides.

 

A deer and her fawn wander 

beneath its trunk 

eating from a grassy apple-buffet. 

Crunching.

Munching.

Silent.

Restful. 

Without my dog Sugar, they remain,

as I approach this sanctuary,

their wet hooves and my wet shoes

among the fallen apples.

On this strange island.

In this strange sea.

 

“Why are you here?” she says.

And her fawn looks up.

Munching. 

Curious.

“I am looking for a Savior.” I respond.

 

“And why here, at this apple tree?”

she says, silently, like a wordless grandmother

full of wisdom, patience, a wry smile.

 

“I have sought Him in churches, cathedrals.

Holy sites.  

I have travelled the world to find Him. 

Tried diocesan conventions, gurus, scotch, 

canon-law-trials and candle-lit evensongs.

 

“Your myths give apple trees a bad

reputation.” She says, slowly.

A mild scolding.

And as if not listening.

 

“Yes” I say, feeling the water in my shoes.

 

Eve.  

Sin.  

Wisdom. 

Pride. 

Judgement.

Shame.

Absolution.

Betrayal.

 

“You Christians pack a lot into an apple.” she says, lowering her head as if to look at me 

over imaginary glasses. 

Granny glasses.

Her fawn glances at her as if 

getting a joke.

 

“What did you find in the churches?” 

she said, as she pushed up onto her hind legs

reaching for an apple on a low branch.

Causing tree-rain.

Her tall, curved, tan belly exposed, 

front wrists  flopping 

the way my dog Sugar’s go when

she sleeps on her back.

 

“Reminders.  At times.  And righteous friends.”

And thought to myself

“The defense rests.”

 

She turned and walked away,  

her fawn slowly following in the wet grasses. 

 

Silent.

 

I so wanted her to turn 

and look at me once more.

See me, again.

 

I took off my shoes.

I took an apple from the tree,

And felt seen.

Exposed.

Welcomed.

Wet.

Absolved of nothing.

Connected to everything.

And ate.

 

Charles LaFond is a poet, author, novelist, fundraiser and potter on Whidbey Island and published essays on domestic spirituality. The photo is that of the apple tree in his pasture.

 

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