Five apples. That’s all I could count as I circled an apple tree fading into the brush just off the loosely-defined trail. Prickly ash grabbed at my legs as I stumbled beneath the branches, my gaze fixed upward. The apples were rather large, their species unknown to me. Now there’s only three.
I knew this tree was here, in an abandoned woodlot just beyond the city’s edge. I took photos last winter of its neglected apples, stubbornly wrinkled, brown and frozen, wearing caps of new snow high against a blue sky. I had also stumbled upon this tree some years earlier and noted how it seemed out of place among the hardwoods and pines. Now, in the heart of apple season, there were only a handful of apples on the scraggly old tree, probably well past its prime of production.