Thursday, March 29, 2012

Catchin' Up: Wild Apples

Much like one of my favorite poems, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" by Wallace Stevens, Thoreau presents so many ways of looking at an apple that we cannot help but see the extraordinary within all things we may consider equally mundane. He covers physical, horticultural, biblical, symbolic, biological, spiritual, historical, sensory, literary and personal ways of perceiving apples. His accounts are almost overwhelming in their variety and his references are so strange and particular that you can't help but admire his dedication to these Kings among fruit. Over all I found Thoreau's thoroughness (intentional), inspirational and though I don't mean to sound patronizing, adorable. I once met a man who was similarly captivated by leaf cutter ants and I decided it is easy to listen to, or in this case read, anything written by somebody who is passionate about their subject.

I know we talked about this in class but I particularly enjoyed the bit about the saunterer's apple and the necessity to eat it out in the November air which is, "the sauce  it is to be eaten with." It reminds me of Heidegger and Emerson's discussions of mood and begs the question, does our mood influence sensory perception or does sensory perception influence our mood? Although I suppose neither really matters. I feel like this is a common experience, not only with apples but with many things in life. Certain movies are better watched in certain company, restaurant's have better food depending on how hungry you are or what you were doing at the time, etc... Thoreau makes the world seem to revolve around the apple, all its subtleties and influences, he make it appear larger than life, makes you want to take a bite and sit in deep thought about every sensation that arises from it. And maybe that's what it takes to really enjoy life. Thoreau seems to be able to get close to the apple without bringing us to that precarious nebulous place and I find this fascinating. How does he do that? Are we simply transported by his passion? His thoroughness and ability to highlight subtleties? I'm not sure, but now I can't stop thinking about strawberries because I feel the same way about those as he does about apples.

Wild vs. domestic strawerries
the pop of the very best being plucked from the bush
frozen stawberries
dark vs. light stawberries
late vs. early season berries
wet vs. dry season berries
strawberry stains on your hands and lips and clothes
candied strawberries
the bugs and animals they attract
How every time we've tried to grow strawberries deer come into our yard
the smell of strawberries
I guess I don't know of many strawberries in history or literature though...

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