“Don’t believe, here the evidence, where Brooklyn?
See that? Bound to take it all kid, believe that” — Definition By Black Star Verse by Mos Def.
I was in an orchard picking the reddest and ripest Honeycrisp apples I had ever seen. The acrid scent of fermenting apples in varying states of decomposition carpeted the ground and perfumed the air.
My mother and I would visit apple orchards during autumn when the leaves on the trees burst into a vivid symphony of color that arrested your eyes with delight when I was a child growing up in Minnesota. Apple orchards surrounded our town. It was a special treat for my mother and me to be able to enjoy this time together. Usually, we would be the only black people in the orchard on any brisk fall day. No one paid us any mind; we were just another voice in the chorus of happy families picking apples.
The crisp harvest air ushered in apple cider season, which would soon recede to hot cocoa season with marshmallows if your parents sprang for the more expensive Swiss Miss cocoa mix.
Remarkably, I found myself in a picturesque apple orchard. Boundless joy is the word that described how I felt to be a fully grown man picking apples in this charming grove. Shirks of joy from little kids plucking apples from the trees perforated the calm sky. Words of encouragement from parents and grandparents floated gently in the bracing air.
I lumbered around the orchard with a basket brimming with my bountiful haul. I wondered why I had so many apples. My wife does not eat apples, nor does my daughter. I hardly eat apples anymore since I was fed a steady diet of the ubiquitous misnomered Red Delicious apple as a child. Why did I have so many apples?
I surveyed the grove for any hint of my daughter or my wife. I hesitated to search for my mother due to her advanced age and lack of mobility. Yet, maybe one last visit to an apple orchard with her baby boy was one of her final requests before she transitioned to be with the Lord. I could not find anyone I knew in this labyrinth.
How did I get here?
Arizona might have apple orchards, but I do not know any. The air felt too invigorating for Arizona. The bite…