A few days ago a friend posted a photo of windfall apples gathered from his orchard.

They looked dewy, lush. They must have smelt wonderfully perfumed…

I’d been picking, and enjoying our own crop, but there was something about the timing of this photo married with the sparsity of words used to annotate it, that triggered the strongest wave of a mislaid memory. It flooded my head and heart with such force, that I actually had to put down my pencil and involuntarily close my eyes.

It placed me right there, back in the moment. And the moment was this:

I’m lying on slightly dampened ground in my grandfather’s orchard. I’m wearing a tiered skirt my mother has sewn for me. My feet are bare, heels touching the grass.  I’m stretched out on an old, slightly moth-chewed blanket I’ve taken from the sitting room. The ground is littered with primroses of every hue, the colour wheel randomly scattered. In fact I’m actually lying on primroses; I can pick out the subtle sweet smell of bruised petals.

I’m looking up though, because above me is blue. Someone has rolled out a  mediterranean sky on this Spring day.

It is cloudless!

But, seared into this blue, in laser-precise outline, is blossom. Clouds of pinky white flowers are stuck on to the leathery barked arms of ancient, stooping apple trees, such as a child might glue scrunched white tissue paper onto a card to depict a blizzard scene. As I look, right arm shielding the sun, small handfuls occasionally take flight from a tree, to be lifted then gently released from a tiny dizzy thermal popping up from the warmed ground.

I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by young goslings who’ve decided that I’m their ‘other’ mother this day. They’ve been grazing for a while and have settled around me, cheeping and wittering; a chatter that is as comforting for me as it is for them. Any slight movement from me evokes a wave of renewed peeps, a slight shift and a rearrangement of folded limbs and stubby wings. We all settle once more. Eyes close, breathing slows. Blossom continues to drift.

I’m writing this because, now I’ve stumbled upon this precious cache, I don’t want to lose it again.