I can envision Sir Isaac Newton sitting beneath such an apple tree as the one that stood grandly in the meadow on Grandaddy Gene Brown’s farm. I mean, if you think about it, the apple that “inspired” Newton to develop his theory of gravity was probably not your local grocery store variety. In my vision; ostensibly inspired by the cartoons of my youth which portrayed, if erringly, the falling apple rousing Newton from his reverie beneath the tree by clouting him on his esteemed noggin; the apples hanging above Newton’s reclining form, were as varied in size and shape as the “wild apples” in the meadow.
What if the theory inspiring apple was one of those babies? In my vision, I can see two possible scenarios, depending upon the size of the falling apple. If one of the smaller ones had plopped down onto Newton’s head, he probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But in my vision, it’s one of those huge, hard ones that releases itself from the branch above Newton and whacks him on his honorable head, rendering him unconscious. While in this state of somnolence, EUREKA! Newton dreams up the theory of universal gravity. Well, it could have happened that way!
Although a falling apple did start Newton’s thought process about gravity, the theory-inspiring apple didn’t actually hit Newton’s head. It hit the ground, like falling apples are wont to do. Another errant idea is that Eve tempted Adam with an apple but theorists believe that it was more likely a pomegranate. The word used to describe that fruit can also be translated as apple; historically, giving apples a bad rap. And what of the proverbial, “Bad Apple”? The “Bad Apple” is a person of less than stellar merit. As a matter of fact, the scientific name for an apple is “malus”, a Latin word meaning “bad”.
We never hear of someone being referred to as a “Good Apple”. But we know that apples are good because they’ve been known to “keep the doctor away” by contributing to the health of its consumer. We know that, how good an apple is, depends on the tree. People say that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. The Good Book says that a “tree is known by the fruit it bears”; I presume that the obverse is also true.
One thing I know with a certainty and that is that; the “Wild Apple Tree” in the meadow, on Gene Brown’s farm was a good tree, with strong roots and a sturdy trunk. Its limbs and branches were strong and the fruit it bore were good fruit. Although the apples were varied in shape and color, they were all pleasing to the senses; and though the original tree is no more, the fruit and seeds of the tree still prosper. It’s interesting that apple trees are not native to America. They were imported from overseas. From the first seeds and saplings that endured the arduous journey over oceans, the country eventually became populated with these hardy trees with their precious fruit.
Another interesting fact about apples is that, the trees which produce the beautifully colored apples that adorn the shelves and bins of the produce section in your favorite market, cannot be grown from seeds they must be grafted in order to create the trees which produce those apples. Think about that for a while. Usually cutting a tree means the death of that tree, but not so with the cut and grafted apple trees. The fruit of these trees is even more beautiful than that of the trees grown from the original seeds.
Yes, I love reminiscing about that old “Wild Apple” tree that stood in the meadow on Gene Brown’s farm. That tree, with its gnarled, outstretched fingers, stretching out from equally twisted and roughened limbs and branches; firmly rooted in the rich black soil of the field. That tree with its green, yellow and red fruit, peeking form beneath a green afro of leaves waving and fluttering in the gentle summer breeze. I never had the pleasure of meeting Gene Brown, he was gone to Glory long before I was born, but I saw his apple tree. I climbed his apple tree. I ate the fruit of his apple tree. I guess that’ll do, for now.
See you next week!