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Terreson Profile
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Gone to Wood


Thought for sure I had posted this vignette to the board. Anyone who has read the jobbing field note will recognize the time frame and place. Migrant farm work, picking fruit, Oregon, '70. Another thing made in '82.

Terreson


Gone to Wood

I chased a great gray squirrel through an orchard once. He was the color of gray blue, disappearing blue, and he had been born in the mountain’s quiet cache. I was younger, then, and I had been newly been roasted over the spit of love’s flame. But I chased that squirrel to the orchard’s edge, and I lost him to a single leap he made from the last apple tree, through the singing air, and into the blackberry groundbrush. The orchard was the valley’s oldest living stand of apple trees. It had seen a hundred years or more. And it had been planted on the low and gentling, green bursting sides of Mount Hood, above the river flowing with the same name.

They say that when an apple tree passes fruit bearing age, it has gone to wood. The tree will have begun to make more wood than fruit, and its suckling blossoms will start to lose their sweet scent. They say that the honey bee will pass on by. The apple’s hard wood will have become fibrously harder still and the tree will have attained a span of great shade, stiff pride. It will still be digging its roots in the mountain’s upheaved earth, and it will have become a witness to the rounding year. But they say it will no longer feel the urgency in slender arms pressing against its trunk. And that, in the midnight wind blowing through dry falling leaves, the tree gone to wood will only hear the tales and remember the ancient autumns of apple blossom wine, and how it had been when the girls had danced in its grove.

I picked fruit that season with an old man who had learned about such things. He was a Canadian who had mined for gold in Colorado, and who had long since lost all that he owned to a fool’s promise. He had lost his wartime bride, his children, and his stiff pride. He would wake up the camp singing, “daylight in the swamps,” and we would start the wood stove fire together. But then the rains came in, and the fruit trees became slipping cold. They would not let themselves be easily worked by hands grown to numb to pick the fruit. And, one morning, the old man told me he was heading for the warmer missions and derelict beds of California. He said he wished I would come.

I wish I had gone with him now. I wish I hadn’t stayed to finish out the season, nor returned to a town where summer is reckoned by the passing of winter, and where the cold has started to creep up my spine. And it has since seemed to me that when the snow comes brightly burning down the mountainside, the tightly knit hardwood tree falls the greatest.



Dec/27/2014, 10:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Christine98 Profile
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Re: Gone to Wood


Beautiful description and the thing is, I resemble that metaphor!

Hope your Holidays have been swell and the New Year is a good one for you and for all of us,

Best,

Chris
Dec/28/2014, 3:13 pm Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Gone to Wood


Thank you for reading, Chris. A slight piece but one that still sticks with me.

And a good New Year to you and all too.

Tere
Jan/2/2015, 7:57 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Gone to Wood


Terreson,

Read this fine piece. There's a wistfulness there. I can surely identify with not having gone with that old man. In my early 20's after fire season at the Whitebird Ranger Station, a friend, a wanderer already (he was young) was going to California where the fire season would continue for a few more months. I was tempted, but went back to school instead. Those dreams are always there.

This is very fine writing. "digging its roots into the mountain's upheaved earth" is pure Terreson. Good to read this. Zak
Mar/1/2015, 12:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Terreson Profile
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Re: Gone to Wood


Thanks for the comment, Zak.

Tere
Mar/10/2015, 11:39 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 
queenfisher Profile
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Re: Gone to Wood


dear tere

treat to read your prose! the subtle metaphor
on age & growing older - gone to wood - as we shall all be!

loved this part:

They say that when an apple tree passes fruit bearing age, it has gone to wood. The tree will have begun to make more wood than fruit, and its suckling blossoms will start to lose their sweet scent. They say that the honey bee will pass on by. The apple’s hard wood will have become fibrously harder still and the tree will have attained a span of great shade, stiff pride. It will still be digging its roots in the mountain’s upheaved earth,

great description -for all times - both trees & humans!

hope you are doing well
Mar/16/2015, 1:24 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Terreson Profile
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Thank you for reading, Queen. Glad it seems to work for you. Funny how the perspective is something we all can relate to.

I am well. Trust you are too.

Tere
Mar/28/2015, 2:40 pm Link to this post Send Email to Terreson   Send PM to Terreson
 


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