This apple tree lives along our road. I pass it every day, along with the Vermont plethora of maples and ash and poplars, many more wild apple trees, blackberry brambles. All winter long, this tree has been dormant, sleeping its hard and quiet sleep. Then today, mid-May, I discover effusive green from a broken branch of all places. Apple wood is dense, a good solid fuel for wood stoves (as Annie Proulx wrote), but the leaves are as tender as a child’s skin, and the delicate blossoms are not far behind.
Working on my second novel today, I thought of this apple branch, as I labored through a complex scene. Then I thought: Do something different. Have a character do something I would never expect, or fly a bird through an open window and knock over a drinking glass. Mix it up. Sprout a whole leaf ensemble from a broken branch. Use up all that sap.
Jane Kenyon’s poem February: Thinking of Flowers has this lovely line. “A single green sprouting thing would restore me….” And here I am in May, in Vermont, in opulent beauty, and the black flies aren’t yet biting.