Snack-time Ponderings
                                            by Jim Ellis

"It's only any apple!", I thought.  It seems the apple, I was about to eat
almost automatically, had distracted my attention away from what I was reading
as it passed in front of my eyes on the way to my month.

I stared at the glossy red sphere in my hand.

It was large, round, and succulent.  I held it in my hand with
anticipation for how good it would taste, when the juicy flesh hit my lips.
Its aroma started to fill my nose as a preview of the enjoyment I would
experience.  It seemed to call out to me.  "Eat Me... Eat Me", it said.  Years
of enculturalization had convinced me it was the prefect snack food, pure
and natural, good tasting and good for you, and one a day would keep the
doctor away.
 

Then it occurred to me how complicated this little apple was and that
in this high tech. high volume world, how little I knew and how much I should
know about this apple.  Where had it come from?  Perhaps this tiny young
apple had been places I had never been.  Was it from my native state of
Massachusetts or was it from New Jersey or from the apple country of the
state of Washington or even further?

What else didn't I know about this apple?  What was its mother like?
Was the tree it came from the result of years of grafting and horticultural
science, that has yielded the apple with the highest profit margin?  Was
that why its skin was so tough?  Was this apple picked by hand or had its
skin been engineered so tough it could withstand a less personal method of
harvesting?   What chemicals did they use on it?  Certainly, there were no
worm holes to be found.  What would these chemicals do to the environment and
what would any residue do to me?  Will anybody tell me?  Does anybody really
know?...  And why is its skin so glossy?  Why have we put more emphasis on
the two seconds we spend deciding which apple to buy than on the rest of our
life those chemicals trapped beneath the wax may spend in our body?
 

Oh how I long for that warm fall afternoon when along with one of my best
college friends, I hiked a quiet trail in the mountains of New Hampshire.
We happened upon a grove of apple trees.  Perhaps an old apple orchard from
a small farm of a different era, long since abandoned.  I picked an apple
from one of the trees, no prizes for size or shape would it win.  But as
we sat on top of a rock ledge and cut around the little worm holes,
we found no apple had ever been so sweet or so right.
 
 

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Copyright 1995 James P. Ellis

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