I was a picker of fruit -
I and scores of Young Friends
gathered in orchards fall after fall,
Circled the trees joyfully,
lifted each apple
gently off its hanging home.
Breathed in the clear autumn air,
Looked out over treetop to rolling hills
and other treetops and blue skies.
Cooked hearty meals and sang and
prayed with aching bones
when the day's work was done.
The air was so clear you longed to breathe it forever.
The world raged with war
and dreams of justice.
And we dreamed of a way
to do no harm in our labors -
(I reached too far once:
The supporting bough broke,
my arm broke.
Helen tended me,
The others picked on.)
Jesus said to Peter & Andrew
that he would make them "fishers of men",
And he did.
Now in this great dark hungry world,
Who will reach out and gather
Who will dream & work together to gather
souls - ripe & ready for the harvest?
(And will young dreamers pick apples again?)
Written Dec. 26, 2000, after watching the movie "Cider House Rules" and dreaming the following night about teaching school children to pick apples. Published in the August 2001 issue of Quaker Life. © 2001 Peer Blood