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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Valley attribute

Before I proceed any further with this enterprise, project--or folly--of mine, an attribute is in order. Back in 1969 when I was about to put the final touches on my undergraduate degree from Central Washington State College (yes, it was just a college in those days, the residual of the old "normal" school, which trained students to be elementary school teachers), I had a poem published in Central's literary magazine, the 1969 edition. It was not much of a poem, nor I a poet, but its publication was motivation enough for me to purchase a few copies of Inscape, the slender little book in which my poem appeared: a couple for me; the others for gifts and, of course, bragging rights. On page 43 was a little twelve line, free verse poem by Ramona Fae Rache. The poem was entitled "Thinning Apples," and it spoke of a horticultural chore that made both Ramona and me immediately--by way of experience--kindred spirits. The poem resonated with me then and forty-one years later resonates still, for I, too, had climbed a white ladder up into the apple leaves, thinned to six or eight inches, broke the triples, threw the little green apples over my shoulder so they wouldn't bruise those left for the crop, and saw the valley below and a cobalt river ripple gently in the summer morning's gentle breeze.

By way of a Thank-you to Ramona Fae Rache for my Blog's title, I've included her poem in this post:

Thinning Apples

Valley ripple by me
Shades of green and apple dew
I listen to the dove's last call
Face east to the mountains.
Up there I see the canyon dumps
wheaties grow wild
Tar -and -gravel cuspidores
and Grandma.
Seven o'clock the whistle blows,
June drop's falling fast.
I turn and climb to young bird's nests
and thin.

O, Ramona Rae: classmate, kindred poet and thinner of young apples, many seasons of little green apples have passed. Where have all the years gone? Wherever you are, I hope the years have been kind to you.

(Note: "June drop"--an apple tree's method of self-thinning by which it aborts certain of its fruit.) Print this post

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