It hits me in the middle of the night. The anxiousness, the sleeplessness, and the hollow feeling inside… I’m grieving. It seems so ironic. I grew up in cemeteries and later in funeral homes and volunteering for hospice. I think to myself, friends have recently lost a parent, a spouse, and a cousin; yet here I am grieving the loss of an apple season. It may seem trivial to those who have lost a loved one, but the swimming thoughts that go through my head reveal the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and the depression I am now feeling.
The winter was particularly warm. We saw bud swell in January followed by a late freeze in April. I denied any talk of a lack of apples in the spring. I pushed forward with a CSA. We are going to have apples! I was even angry at the mention of there being a lack of apples. And then, I saw it for myself. Why me? Why us? We work so hard. We care so much. We are trying to cultivate healthy food and be good stewards of the earth. So, the bargaining began… What if I tried harder? I’ll try harder to manifest my dreams. What if I shared more? We can offer free seminars. What if I helped more? I’ll help with the farming more. But it’s come to a head as we try for another week to put together apples for a CSA we already had to cut back on, and as we get calls from people who want organic apples. People calling from Belfast, Kittery, Boston and even Texas. People want to pay us, but it’s not for the work and expense of what we’ve already put in. No, we don’t get paid for that. We get paid for apples. Apples that we don’t have right now.
I am grieving and feeling the bleakness that comes with it. I knew there would be a year where we would lack apples. I just thought we’d be in a better place and more prepared for it. After last year’s abundance, we learned we needed to be able to utilize our whole crop and processing into cider, vinegar, and hard cider has been our goal. But as we prepare the infrastructure for it, pouring lots of capital into it, my heart is sinking with this year’s devastation from the combined one-two punch. On top of the warm winter and late spring freeze, the apples that we have are aborting from the stress of the prolonged severe drought. And again goes the anger. I am mad at the weather, flooding Louisiana and leaving us in drought. I skip over the denial and bargaining and go straight for the depression again. How long can we keep going?
I know the next stage is acceptance, but I’m not sure when that will come. The only thing I can do right now is accept how I am feeling in the moment, own it and work through it. That is why I write this post. Although I doubt you are grieving the loss of an apple season as I am, my hope is that even an untraditional form of loss can be recognized and honored in your own life, giving yourself permission to go through the stages of grief and allow the processing of it. Grief is work. One without a timeline. In my case, I can see there are silver linings, lessons to be learned, and I’m still holding onto the hope that the apples we have will hang in there. I am working through it and, at the end of the day, I know we will come out stronger on the other side.
Thank you for your continued support.
With love and care,