In the backyard of this house once stood a round arborvitae, much overgrown. Molly enjoyed mauling its lower branches in her early years, and a bad storm in 2007 smashed it flat in all four directions. That year we pulled it out and planted a flowering tree.
At least I thought it was a flowering tree. I tried to match another in the yard, the one with tiny hot pink buds that open into white flowers that fall like snowflakes in the early spring. Last year, its first spring, the new tree did just that, though the buds were less brilliant.
I didn't think you could get apples with only one tree. I've decided there must be another one somewhere in the neighborhood, close by, though the nearest one I've seen is three blocks away and the apples are smaller and are allowed to fall to the ground and rot there.
Today I'm eating an unexpected apple, cut into 12 pieces. I'm sharing them with Sam, not because it's a bad apple but because he woofs insistently when I leave them sitting on the plate. Such a waste, he says, mumma. Let's eat them!
I pass him another slice.
The apple is tart, but not too tart, crunchy and firm. Really quite delicious. Just the kind of apple I like, in fact. Since I didn't realize I was buying an apple tree, I didn't pay much attention to the name and have no idea of the variety.
When life brings unexpected apples, fruit where we expected only flowers or nothing at all, it feels important to pay attention, to savor the texture, to examine the shade of red, to feel the weight in one's hand, to consider the nature of the gift unsolicited.
(That's the one we're eating.)