We had such a delicious rain yesterday. It started with thunder and lightning late the night before. The rafters creaked from the noise and the sky streaked with the illumination from the lightning. It was quite a show. Then, the rain carried on, like a weeping school girl whose boyfriend has just left for college. By late afternoon yesterday, the clouds separated, the Cutoff wore the most enchanting shade of green, and the sun shone through with all its glory.
Mary Oliver’s poem, John Chapman, came to mind from “American Primitive”. John Chapman is known to most American schoolchildren, probably most adults as well, as Johnny Appleseed, a legend in is own time as he went about planting apple orchards across the East and as far west as Indiana and Illinois as a young country emerged. He lead a nomadic life., sleeping under the stars, or wherever he could find shelter, and wearing a tin can for his hat, which doubled as a pot to cook his supper in. John Chapman didn’t actually toss apple seeds across the land. He planted apple trees, putting fences around them to protect them from predators, creating orchards. His legacy is the many descendant apple trees that dot the eastern part of the country, and, America’s love affair with the once forbidden fruit.
This is a portion of Ms. Oliver’s poem, John Chapman.
Well, the trees he planted or gave away
prospered, and he became
the good legend, you do
what you can if you can; whatever
the secret, and the pain,
there’s a decision: to die,
or to live, to go on
caring about something. In spring, in Ohio,
in the forests that are left you can still find
signs of him: patches
of cold white fire.