God, I do love this place. I am back here, the last Sunday in August. Hurricane Irene cancelled my Megabus ride between Washington DC and Durham, but provided the opportunity for friends in DC to escape the tropical storm by driving south and sleeping in the hermitage until the media-traumatizing storm blew up the coastline. On Sunday, the skies were clear, not a cloud in the sky. They had all been sucked up in the vortex of what was Irene.
Down here Mebane, I stood in the orchard picking apples. I gathered figs off of the every growing fig bush. The first time I pulled a fig straight from a branch was for a group, who were some of the first guests to visit the Stone House in the Fall 2007.
The first time I harvested — well, actually gleaned — apples had been a few summers’ prior when Tahz asked me to grab apples. The first batch were for a blue bucket, the second batch were tossed into a wheelbarrow. The blue bucket apples had spots, dimples and blemishes on their skin yet enough apple for the fruit to be pressed with the apple press. The wheelbarrow where apples that were to soft and mushy, or so marked up that they were unedible to the discerning eye of a Stone House guest in the kitchen.
What I most remember about being under the apple trees was the buzz of hundreds of wasps. I so freaked myself out of the oodles of wasps that it took me a minute to realize. The wasps didn’t care about me. There was so much apple to be eaten that the wasps paid me no mind as I picked up apples from the ground and off of branches and placed them in the bucket and wheelbarrow. I went from gently laying them in the two containers to tossing them three feet. The wasps, still didn’t care about me. I had concocted a narrative that they were going to sting me.