Sunday, October 18, 2015

"The Old Apple Orchard"

The Old Apple Orchard

Twined and twisted,
China Orchard hunches
amidst mountain, lake, forest and creek.

Recalls a sapling's delicate sway

and prosperous seasons
of horse drawn carts spraying,
careful hands pruning, fondling, plucking -

relieving heavy limb of bounty ripe and red.


Today, basking in Autumn's tempting color
and slanted heat,
beware rattlesnake and copperhead -

Today beware, cyanide and sulphur
that steeps in soil
beneath weary limbs gnarled and boughed.

by Margaret Bednar, October 18, 2015

Moses Cone Memorial Park is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.  Moses Cone grew wealthy with the denim industry and built a mansion in the Appalachian Mountains just outside of Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.   He built his 13,000 square foot mansion (1901), Flat Top Manor, high on a hill overlooking Bass Lake, 25 miles of carriage trails, and 3,500 acres.  Within these 3,500 acres he had a prosperous apple orchard, "China Orchard".

I walked the gently sloping trail to Bass Lake and passed the old apple orchard.  A sign and fence warn of pesticide contamination and forbid children and people beyond a certain point.  A few trees still stand, most are gone.  It fascinated me... The thought of Moses Cone being one of the fist conservationists, yet the soil now contains "traces" of pesticides and his good intentions...

HERE is a link to a blog that has a few photos and a quick history of the place.  HERE is the Blue Ridge Heritage website.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Mini Challenge - Falling Into Lines"


Gail said...

Many did not think what their actions would bring.

My aunt gardened where a cotton patch had grown for years. Mom, peeling the potatoes, noticed the potatoes had absorbed the strychnine used to discourage the pests many many years before the potato was planted.

We reap what we sow, I suppose.

Outlawyer said...

Yikes--that is very scary--your poem captures the contradictions so well. Agh.

We have a little (old) orchard--and there are lots of wild apples too--this has been a huge year for them--I used to can--feel too tired for it.

A lovely poem--gnarled is such a perfect word for apple trees, they are certainly that, and so beautiful--awful to think of contamination--a kind of turn on the fall. k.

ocean bones said...

Ooh yeah. I like this a lot.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Even our earthly Paradise has its dangers and temptations, and it seems we have indeed eaten too much from the Tree of Knowledge.

brudberg said...

What a story behind those words, there is something so sad about a glorious orchard with poisonous apples. That's a sad thought, that put the fruits into something new special.

Other Mary said...

It's a lovely, well crafted poem on it's own, but the explanation of what events inspired it is fascinting. Last spring my husband and I visited Biltmore, and a part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and really enjoyed it.

Kerry O'Connor said...

You have created a stark contrast between the promise of fruit and the poisonous soil.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, the poem speaks of contrasting times to perfection and I enjoyed reading the process notes. I cant wrap my brain around a 13,000 square foot house, my goodness. But how sad that the land is now contaminated.

kaykuala said...

and slanted heat,
beware rattlesnake and copperhead -
beware, cyanide and sulphur
that steeps in soil

Pesticides and non-organic fertilizers are abusers of the soil but global warmings seem to get all the attention. Thanks for highlighting this malady Marge!


Eleaine Sarah Thomas Jobs Bush said...

your words always carry sincere imagery,
nature is our teacher.

Eleaine Sarah Thomas Jobs Bush said...

check out short story slam week 31 today.

Happy Halloween!

Friko said...

It is so sad that so many orchards have been neglected and allowed to fall fallow over the years; here too. It’s just not worth paying for fruit pickers, the owners say. My neighbour, who has recently been taken into a care home, has left behind some splendid old trees. The leaves have now gone but the apples are still clinging on.

Your poem describes the situation beautifully.