This is our three-year-old White Winter Permain apple tree. A few years ago I wrote a blog article entitled Of Apples and Accordions in which I mentioned the White Winter Permain by quoting from the esteemed volume Fruit, Berry and Nut Inventory.
“Permain, White Winter (Winter Permain)—Oldest known English Apple; dates back to 1200 A.D. Medium to nearly large, round to oval, light greenish fruit turning pale yellow with numerous dots. Fine-grained, crisp, tender, juicy flesh. Pleasantly rich aromatic flavor. Fine quality all-purpose apple. Excellent keeper.”
Our friend Susan Waterfall was intrigued by this description and bought two yearling specimens of the old apple tree and gave one to me. I planted the little beauty in the center of our orchard, and this year for the first time the tree has set some lovely blossoms. Whether her root system is developed enough to support the bearing of fruit remains to be seen, but we are hopeful of getting a little apple or two from her by summer’s end.
In other big news, my friend Max inquired about how I learned to play the piano. Rather than write a lengthy history involving the sadistic piano teacher who scared me away from the piano when I was seven, my reunion with the piano as a teenager, and my decades of teaching myself how to play without knowing how to read music, I wrote the following.
I taught myself to play by finding repeatable patterns of notes and chords I play with my left hand that I like the sound of. When I find a pattern I like, I keep playing the pattern of notes and chords until I get good at sustaining a steady rhythm with that pattern (often very simple), and then I try out notes and chords to play with the pattern using my right hand until I find combos of sounds (pattern and accompaniments) I like and then I play the combos until I can play them without thinking too much so I can then improvise with them or just repeat them and sing to them or tap my feet and imagine a drummer playing with me. As I continue to practice these “tunes” my mind seems to enjoy changing things up and variations emerge. Something like that.
Next up we have this amazing purple vine flower. The vine in question has been growing near the doorway of our woodshed for who knows how long, decades probably, but I never saw the vine’s flowers until today because every year since we’ve lived here, prior to this year, I would by now have weed whacked the tall grass in the yard and cut down the fledgling vine before I might have distinguished it from the surrounding grasses.
However, we had so little rain this past winter, the grass has not grown very high, and because I have tons of other yard work to occupy me, I have yet to do any weed whacking so far this year. Several morals to this tale occur to me.
From neglect may bloom astonishing beauty.
The late bird catches the gorgeous blossom.
Given time, hidden beauty sometimes stops hiding.
Nature knows what she’s doing if we allow her to do what she knows.
Finally in today’s big news, I have been repeating lately, “How can people be so stupid and shortsighted?” when I read about the truly insane and murderous things various states and countries are doing in response to the dang virus, specifically the loosening of restrictions and mitigation protocols when all known research tells us this is a very bad idea and will result in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.
For some days I suffered from the delusion that this kind of willful disregard for all that is good and decent and right is proof of new and greater levels of ignorance and stupidity. But then Marcia reminded me of why I quit the Santa Cruz commune I was a member of in the early 1970s, and I realized that high-level ignorance and stupidity is nothing new.
To be brief, I lived in a twelve-person commune for two years and created for that collective an enormous vegetable and herb garden that produced a large portion of the vegetables we consumed. In those simpler times, I made my minimal living as a gardener and musician and intended to live in that commune for many more years until…
Two of our members moved out, thus creating two openings for new members. We had a large number of applicants. Two of those aspiring to join us were a brilliant charming creative woman and an equally brilliant and creative and charming man. They were not a couple and did not know each other. They were, in my estimation, the most ideal members we could ever have. Yet when it came to the final vote, my fellow communards selected two dimwits with nothing to recommend them except they were no threat to the fragile egos of the majority of those in the commune.
Yes, all the men in the commune voted for the brilliant creative woman, and all the women voted against her. And all the women voted for the brilliant creative man, and all the men, save for me, voted against him. I was stupefied and depressed by what I felt was the emotional idiocy of my housemates, and so resigned my place in the commune and took my dreams of utopia elsewhere.
But maybe I was wrong. Maybe those dimwits blossomed into human marvels, and maybe it is a fine thing that thousands of people will die so a bunch of cranky impatient deeply ignorant people can get haircuts and go to pubs and tanning salons and spread the dang virus hither and yon. Who am I to say?
And that’s our big news for today.