Friday, October 21, 2011

Of Apples, Applesauce, and Autumn

A cold October wind moans through the windows. The sky is moody and the light is muted.  But our house is bustling, warm, and filled by the delicious scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cooking apples.  In our house, this is the season for making applesauce.  This year we canned 160 jars over three days using five pressure cookers, two Roma Food Strainers and eighteen half bushel bags of assorted “seconds” from Schobers Orchard in Monroeville, NJ.  It's a highly anticipated process that involves the whole family; and on a cool truly "autumnal" day like this, it also turns us inward toward hearth and home.  

It's easy to understand why the apple has been an important symbol across cultures and history.  Baked, sauced, or au naturel, apples taste delicious, are pleasant to look at, store well,  and are a great excuse to take a trip to a local orchard and have a bit of harvest fun.   Hmm...Eve is often painted handing Adam an apple for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For the Norse it was a symbol of youth. It gave the Celts a desire for fairie.  

The apple is also a great way to illustrate the seasonal cycle. That's why many a kindergarten teacher uses apple tree art projects . Bare in the winter, lovely, fragrant flowers in spring, fruit in late summer, and golden leaves and a final harvest come autumn.  

An apple can also help Pagan parents convey their beliefs to their children. Beneath its bright, shiny skin, right in its center, is a five pointed "star."  Spreading some paint on a sponge and helping your little one press the half sphere into it and then onto a piece of paper is a great way to have some fun together while giving your child a sense of the connection between nature based beliefs and a part of nature. Earth, air, fire, water, and spirit hidden within a womb forging the cycle from bud, to leaf, to petal to fruit.  

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