The last, unfinished work, of Henry David Thoreau was a magnum opus of the wild fruits that populated the woods in his beloved New England.
He takes the reader through a season-worth of ripening, in order of appearance, from elm and dandelion in May to birches and pitch pine in November.
I have just begun accompanying him on this journey – and am delighted that it is just the right season to join this leisurely sauntering.
How wonderful if there were a comparable calendar of ripenings for the mid-Atlantic region. Then, perhaps, with guidebook in hand, folks like me – whose discerning eye is strained at anything beyond serrated vs smooth edges – might stand a chance at discovering the ever-blossoming, changing world of plants around us.
But I write to share a quote that captures a sense of why I am compelled by the work of the BOP:
“My profession,” Thoreau writes, “is to be always on the alert to find God in nature — to know his lurking places.”
To me, our orchards are such places. And perhaps more than just lurking there, God – or however we speak of the power of nature that calls forth life and works and celebrates and struggles for its existence – resides in our orchards.