For my readers who have been reading since the very first posts in September 2010, today's post will come with a great deal of context. For those of you who are newer to this blog, today's post might feel sudden and out of the blue.
Yesterday I posted that I was up in Harvard, my beautiful home town. Late arrival. Walk in the moonlight. Dear dear friends with a generous open door. What I didn't say was why was I up there. Josh and I drove up to pick up our new kid. Yep, you heard that right. This past week—Monday—a young man named James decided to come live with us, and to start the tender process of becoming family. He's 20, and just finished his freshman year at Brandeis, so we picked him up at his dorm, packed the car to the brim, and then drove out together to start our adventures.
Building permanent family has been a long process for me, a long process for James, a medium long process for me and Josh, and a fairly quick process for me, Josh and James as a trio. I'll write the lead-up some other way, some other place, some other time. Today's post is, as all posts this year are, dedicated to pure and selfish joy.
Every year since I was a child, I would walk up to the apple orchard nearest my house, walk through the rows of budding trees, and choose a tree to follow for the year. Sometimes I would even try to choose a blossom. I'd visit is frequently—as it bloomed, the bloom faded and fell, the tiny fruit would form, the fruit would grow, and eventually the fruit would ripen. In the Fall, when the apples were ready for picking I would take just one—the one I'd followed—and eat it then and there. (My parents were very strict about not taking apples from the orchards without paying for them. I'd love to hear from others how your parents dealt with that constant temptation.)
Over the past couple years, I've tried to restart this tradition. In 2011, Josh and I chose a bloom and followed it til fruit; I thought I blogged about it, but I don't see a post in my archives. Last year I missed the chance, but this year Josh, James, and I drove out to Harvard (after a stop at Erikson's for the first ice cream of the season and before we stopped off and had a wonderful visit with the Durrants and their menagerie of donkeys, sheep, chickens, peacock, doves, dog, and birds at the feeder) and went straight to my closest orchard.
We walked through, we talked about the life cycle of an apple, about how to graft root stock, unfortunately about poison ivy and ticks (which is why I am all covered up—wearing jeans, a skirt, a sweater, and a sweatshirt) and eventually we chose a tree, and we each chose a blossom to follow for the year.
There are many life cycles. New beginnings can start in unexpected ways. A bird might pick up a seed and drop it miles away, where it takes root and flourishes. A country mouse might travel north and west before surprising herself by making a home in New York City. A young man without a home might know someone who knows someone who knows someone who has a home and wants him in it.
And now we are three.