Orchard to River-Front: An Exceptional Day to Wander and Wonder

Photo: Ursa Minor was excited to get on the hayride to the orchard this morning! Once he figured out how to twist the apples off of the trees, he was a pickin’ machine!

Today was one of those days that I’ll keep with me for a while. I’ll contemplate it from different angles, regret some things, relish others… it’s the over-thinker in me.

I woke up this morning and make really awful oatmeal breakfast bars (with pumpkin instead of strawberry preserves) and… I dunno… they weren’t delicious. But not for the pumpkin! For the… I dunno… I wasn’t feeling it. Mom taught me to eat my mistakes, so I ate a square, but I didn’t love it. I can’t decide if I’ll try them again. I’m sharing with ya’ll to see if one if you will try it and tell me what I did wrong!

I learned today that I’m 7 minutes away from an apple orchard. Actually, I learned today that I’m 7 minutes from the country, and that’s important for reasons I’ll explain later. The school had an apple-picking field-trip and I took both of the boys. They were given little bags and we got on a hayride with our friends, and we were off to the apple trees (which are more like bushes, so you can pick them) . The air was fresh and the grounds were full of dew and the lovely sound of… nothing. No traffic or people, no construction or street music. Nothing. Quiet. There was the  sound of the children, which is its own kind of noise. We didn’t stay at the orchard long–the bags just aren’t that big, so the kids stuffed them pretty quickly–but at the end we all got an apple cider donut and a cup of apple cider before departing.

And I’m going to deviate here for a second, because, well… I have to declare that I’m in love. Unabashed, head-over-heels, jump on a coach like a crazy person, stupid no-words in love. I had my first ever New England apple cider doughnut and it was incredible!!! INCREDIBLE!!!! I loved it so much that I bought a dozen and brought them home. 6 sugar-cinnamon ones, 6 plain ones. I ate 2. The boys each got one on the ride home. That’s 8 left. Remember that math, ok?

Because my good friend traveled to the area for a brief visit, I actually got an “afternoon off” from parenting duties and was able to travel into Cambridge for a little bit of time today. I don’t get to spend a lot of time in the city anymore, and as I sat in a park across the street from Harvard Yard, I couldn’t help but notice all of the damn noise. The buses, the cars, the honking, the people on their cell-phones, the babies, the gossip, the yelling and the construction… While it wasn’t new, it was noticeable in a way that it has never been before. I hadn’t realized how used I’ve become to quiet… and what a premium I’ve put on that quiet in my life. It also put a lot of the current “noise” of my life in perspective: The boys and the seemingly constant sound that they make from the time they get up until the time they go to bed are the loudest things in my life. I hear them and only them because everything else in my universe seemingly whispers. I have to spend more time being still, being quiet, and contemplating the glory of that sound. I’m going to write about that more on Friday.

After a lovely lunch, I found myself on a good old Sorkin-style “walk and talk”–meandering through the streets of Cambridge to various destinations. I was reminded, through the adventure, how much of a visual feast Massachusetts is during the Fall–even in the city. The trees are bright reds and yellows, leaves litter the sidewalks, and there are decorative pumpkins in little unexpected places. There is always a pleasant breeze that keeps you comfortable, and the sky is always brilliantly clear and lovely to gaze upon. Autumn in New England is, simply, a gift Visit if you’ve never been. I was also reminded of how interesting people are, and how they, too, provide a lot of inspiration. Funky clothes, silly behavior, random and funny things to say (at Starbucks, on cell phone, a random woman: “…but the thing is, I’ve had two abortions! two!” <— That’s your choice, lady, and I’ll defend your right to it to the death. But did I need to know about it? You know?) Let’s just say that my moleskine is full of good notes and tidbits at the end of today!

As nice as it was to visit, I’m exhausted from it. Not of my friend, who I already deeply miss, but from the experience of having to be attentive to the sea of humanity around me. Classic introvert. I’m so happy to have retreated to the quiet farmhouse, full of new ideas and interesting imagery to incorporate into the next story. I also feel an intense need to knit, finally!

And when I came home, the babies greeted me at the door with smiles and hugs. The Husband greeted me with freshly-made pizza (via that pizza dough recipe that I linked last week. If it’s easy enough that HE can do it, you know that you can do it too!!) that was quiet delicious! And a pretty clean house!

And when I went to my two bags of freshly picked apples in want of preparing them for apple sauce, I found them a bit light… “We ate a few with lunch,” I was told.

And when I went for a lovely plain doughnut after the boys went down for bed, I discovered that there were only three left! THREE!!!! 2 plain and 1 sugar-cinnamon!

You let the boys eat doughnuts all day!? I asked, exasperated.

My husband looked over at me sheepishly. No, he told me. They actually didn’t get a one.

Oh honey… 

“You… you can’t bring those home anymore,” I was told. I guess I’m not the only one who is helplessly in love.

My Quiet Thoughts on Friday will be about my impending transition from happy and youthful 20-something to boring and old 30-something. Goodbye nice skin and properly-working joints! Hello arthritis, shingles, prunes and gray hair! (New game: How many times can I say that thirty is “old” before you stop reading my blog? Don’t… don’t answer that…I’m just kidding!!) See you then!

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