Matt and I went apple picking last Sunday afternoon. We picked Macouns, McIntoshes and Empires at an orchard in Harvard, Massachusetts. It was chilly out, like fall is supposed to be, and I wore a thick yellow sweater that my grandmother gave me for my birthday. The orchard store, where a blue grass band played live on the porch, was surrounded with the bright autumn colors of pumpkins and gourds. The air smelled of dirt, grass, and the vaguely fermented twang of wrinkled apples rotting on the ground.
I thought about the first autumn after the car accident, the one when I could no longer smell. Then, I watched the landscape change from the window of my bedroom at my father's house, where I recovered from knee surgery. I could see the leaves fade from green to earthy shades of red and the grass wither and die. But the season changed without me. I could see it, but I couldn't feel it - not without the familiar scents of apple cider, butter crusts, and decaying leaves. Like watching a movie, I was present but not participating. Interested but not engaged. The world was no longer as I recalled.
These apples that Matt and I picked this year are particularly delicious. They are fresh and crisp, practically bursting with juice. I've been eating a lot of them raw. But last night I cooked pork chops with onions and apples, a recipe adapted from Martha Stewart online. The chops browned in butter and oil, the onions and apples caramelized in the leftover fat. Tonight I'm making an apple sauce, and then an apple pie. I'm happy to again possess fall.