I planted three apple tree last summer: an Empire, a Red Courtland, and a Honeycrisp. They all bloomed well this spring, but they were still too small to carry much weight, so I thinned the young fruit quite heavily until there was only a single apple per branch. This means that I was always going to have a small crop anyway, but the squirrels soon reduced it even further, which was especially frustrating because they seemed to eat less of the apple than they left littered under the tree. So efficient were the squirrels at harvesting that by midsummer there was only a single apple remaining, dangling from the end of the longest branch of the Red Courtland tree.
Then, yesterday, as I was sitting on the porch reading Roberto Bolano, I looked up to see a squirrel dragging an apple up the Maple tree in my front yard. Without even checking, I knew that this was the Red Courtland’s last apple. I watched as the squirrel dropped and retrieved it twice, then finally managed to hoist it onto a branch. It was, I reflected, only one apple more or less, but I still would have liked to eat it myself, to have tasted it, that last apple.