hand picked

the cherries pop up in early summer,

peaches plump in august.

the pears and apples make their debut as the leaves turn

brilliant gold and vibrant red.

during these shifts,

we search and wander and happen upon the old trees—

standing for years and years

they are the most patient of trees—

not bearing any fruit until their fifth year of existence.

they know the secrets of life:

tending to the earth,

protecting themselves,

and giving a rich bounty of sweet fruit to others.

we gather cherries in old grocery bags.

peaches are harder to come by.

and when the apples arrive,

they dot the earth.

some red, some green, some sour, and some sweet.

we stop to climb fences and branches and hang on for dear life,

to get the hearty fruit at the tippy top.

my favorite though,

are the pears.

they hang like teardrops,

held in bunches.

and we fasten together an old juice jug

and a dowel—

an extra 10 feet of arm span does the trick.

standing on the street,

one hoists our makeshift fruit grabber

and the other stands right below

to catch any stragglers that may fall.

as the dowel is hoisted we cackle and laugh—

tears streaming down our faces—

it seems so odd to us,

especially on this particular day in late october—

we are pear picking in the middle of the city,

underneath the first blanket of snowfall.

but nothing about this year has been normal.

so all we can do is laugh.

and as we gather the tart fruit—

this time in a lunch box—

we're reminded that joy hides in the corners.

it peeks out behind crevices

and it's found in the sparkle of a snowflake,

the glint in your lover's eye.

and certainly in the first fresh slice of a harvested and hand picked

New England fruit.

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