Saturday, March 9, 2013

Apples and Anxiety

Photo taken in 2011

Sometimes I have a hard time breathing, taking in the world around me, leaving the stress of everyday life behind, but today, I could feel the swoosh of the clean, fall air filling my lungs as I inhaled and stepped onto the apple orchard.

The hills of the orchard lope up and down, up and down; I cannot see where the winding rows of trees end, and so I walk. The chatter of my three friends follows me as I lead the way, wandering on the fields, my boots always sinking into the slightly squishy ground. Some of the trees, with their relatively thin trunks expanding out with copious branches, have ladders resting on the peaks of the plants, where the branches kiss the sky. I’m afraid of heights, so I encouraged my friend, Alison, to ascend the ladder and search for apples there, while I stood at the bottom, looking up to enjoy the experience through her own. Being the dexterous, athletic girl she is, Alison climbed the tree with leaves, quickly meandering off the ladder, switching her steps from the predictable wooden rungs to the rough terrain of the tree’s branches. She had no control of what her Converse covered toes would face, and she didn’t care.

Finally, she paused. Her hands were both above her head, resting on two thick branches, while one leg kept her balance, the other moving away from her hip to test out the strength of a new branch. She didn’t move. It’s like I can feel her relaxation, her breath, her content. She cocked her head to peer through the leaves at the sun setting in front of her wide-open eyes. She was, as was I, enthralled by the view in front of her. To capture the silence we both seemed to enjoy among the chaos of families reaching for apples and children’s giggles running wild throughout the air, I pulled a camera out of my bag. Inhaling as I clicked the shutter button, exhaling as I heard the opening and closing of the camera, I breathe.