One of the interesting things about our apartment is that the building was landscaped when it was constructed with fruit trees. We have blueberries, strawberries, golden plums and Rainier cherries.
I’ve been watching the cherries ripen on the tree for the past few weeks, and today as the temperature neared 80, I decided it was time to harvest a few. I was concerned that the birds had beat me to all the good ones, but I need not have worried. The tree’s branches were weighed down with fruit.
At first I was pulling them off of their stems but quickly figured out that it was better to grasp them by the stem and twist away from the tree. As I did this, muscle memory took over. I’d completely forgotten, as I am wont to do, that as a child my grandfather had showed me how to harvest cherries. He had been, among other things, a fruit farmer in the Yakima Valley.
It was an unsettling experience, and also a moving one. I could feel his hand guiding mine.