My most vivid memory of my grandparents? farm is the sloping crabapple tree that graced their back yard. There was nothing particularly special about the tree to anybody who passed by it, but to me it was a fortress. The petite, green crabapples that cluttered the tree weighed down the arching branches, producing a fountain of vibrant leaves that spilled to the ground. Pushing aside the flowing tentacles of the tree revealed a secret cove of uncut grass and brightly-colored wildflowers. It was in that cove that I would sit for hours, reading, napping and feasting on the never-ending supply of apples.
The crabapples that I plucked were more sour than anything I had ever tasted was. Their tartness made my mouth as dry as a desert. Yet I continued to savor each bite as the apple crunched between my teeth like metal being crushed. As I laid there, under my tent of graceful leaves, I would smell the sweet aroma of the flowers that were all around me. It smelled like a summer day, fresh and warm. And even though there was a layer of thick foliage above me, the warmth of the day would still beat down on me creating a sauna under the tree.
My only refuge from the heat was in the long, shaded grass, as I let it slide between my bare feet. The green fur that coated the ground beneath the tree stroked my legs awkwardly, creating the sensation of ants crawling across my skin. When the heat had exhausted me and the grass had become matted down enough to be comfortable, I would prop myself up against the coarse tree trunk and quietly nap. My naps were often cut short, however, by the shrill, piercing chirps of the swallows and the larks that nested in surrounding trees that seemed to become more animated as the long, summer afternoons would drag on.
Although I was jolted from my peaceful slumber underneath the tree, and I gave myself a stomachache from eating too many crabapples, spending my time tucked away in my nature-made haven was a time that I enjoyed and will never forget. The sights, sounds, scents, flavors, and sensations that I carry with me will always remind me of my refuge that I had in the crabapple tree.