162510 Tsugaru,Aomori つがる 2013

リンゴの土地までは凡そ七百キロ。この道程は大雪に見舞われていた。シベリアからの寒波が張り出して来ているらしい。峠を過ぎ高低が下がると、圧雪の道路に気を使い、いつものハンドルの握りより心なしか慎重だ。これが堪らなく心地よい、ふと気がつけば曲はいつものNeil Young。そして一人はにかみ車を走らせる。着いた所には肩まで雪で埋もれた、百回以上実を実らせたリンゴの樹が耐えている。

Apple Tree
700 kilometers ‘til I reach the country of apples. The road is covered with heavy snow, apparently due to the cold snap coming from Siberia. Through the mountain path the temperature drops, I tighten the grip of the steering wheel and stare harsher at the road thick from the fallen snow. But still, it feels so damn good and when I realize the car stereo is playing that usual Neil Young, I smile to myself and take the wheel. When I’m finally there, I meet a centenarian apple tree buried in a shoulder-high snow.
Time of the season when the apple flowers blossom, I start a journey to the North. Those apple petals are light and dainty. The buds tint to subtle pink; when they bloom, the flowers turn pure white. The ground of the orchard is covered with soft, green grass and dandelions pop out from earth. Apple flowers filling the hill sparkle brightly as the clouds on top of Ajara Mountain fade and the sun shines on top of them.
Where there is an orchard, there is an apple shed. Inside, there are well-used tools, stepladders big and small, raincoats for sudden shower, container box substitute for a break time table, wheelbarrows for walking up and down the aisles of apples: all these items have something to do with growing the fruit. Inside the shed, there is a wooden deck about 100 square feet and a portable wood stove always ready for the cold. A local supermarket calendar from a few years ago is still hanged on the Formica wall, swinging noiselessly to the draft. There is no electricity and obviously, no overhead in the room.
I woke up in an apple shed. Without letting myself out from the warm sleeping bag, I reach my arm and scout around for my standby solar lamp. I slip out and awkwardly open the sliding door, and see numerous stars shining upon me. Those familiar looking fruits are dimly lit by starlight; you can almost see the fragrance in the still air. What is it about this excitement that I’m feeling right now? How many of these sheds have weaved dreams throughout the years; how many of them made the trees plentiful? I just can’t get enough of this apple shed.