Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
SUSAN LIEBERMAN, New Traditions
When the blossoms on trees turn into large, delicious apples we begin searching for trees in our neighborhood that will make this year's cider party worth coming to. We move often (we haven't lived anywhere longer than 16 months) which makes the hunt for apples really enjoyable since we have never picked apples from the same tree two years in a row.
We began our Sunday search party with 2 strollers filled with children, a step stool, and plenty of bags to put the apples into.
As we find apples that are worth picking, I begin rehearsing my approach line. "Hi, we were just walking by and noticed you had some apples falling down into that empty lot and wondered if we could pick some apples from your tree." Usually folks are pretty happy to let us pick the apples they had no intention of using, that means a few less rotten apples spoiling on the ground for them, and yummy cider for us!
Picking apples can become a greedy and dangerous endeavor. You begin to wonder if you can reach that beautiful, big, non-worm hole, perfect apple hanging just four inches out of your reach. Once you are able to snatch that one off the branch, your eyes spy an even bigger, more beautiful, non-marked apple and you begin devising the plan of how you can get that one off the tree without it falling into the rotten, mushy mess of apples below you.
This is our 4th year we have picked apples from neighborhood trees and have juiced them using the heirloom turquoise Champion juicer my Grandma passed on to me. My son River has always been apart of the process of picking, sorting, and juicing. It was so precious to see him explaining to his younger sister who is 16 months, which apples are good and which ones are bad.
I believe that good traditions, traditions that you want to keep as a family just happen. When we first picked apples four years ago we never thought that this would be a way to gather our friends and family together to celebrate fall, we simply just picked apples. I feel so grateful that we have lived in area that has allowed us to walk in our neighborhood to pick apples from neighbor's trees. As a child I remember reading books about the whole community coming together to harvest apples. I remember the colorful pictures of Papas on ladders picking the apples and Mamas in the kitchen making cider and baking pies. Having a tradition that celebrates the Fall harvest is a way for us to not only feel connected to each other but also to feel connected in the changes of the earth. Traditions bind together Mamas, Papas, Sisters, Brothers, and friends to feel united in purpose and united to each other.