This seems like a minor adventure, but it’s one of these field trips that was starting to feel like it would never happen. There are a couple of months every year when one can pick apples in the Hudson Valley, and when you are a city-dweller with a busy weekend schedule and no car, those months fly by faster than summer, and next thing you know, it’s Christmas and you still have never once picked an apple off a tree. Well this New Yorker has a car now, and a husband who is generally affable about being dragged through the maze of my ambitious activity plans.
So off to Barton Orchards we went. Apple-picking turned out to be way less wholesome, and way more of a commercial enterprise than I thought ‘twould be. Hordes of people drive up to a Lollapalooza-sized parking lot, families of all walks stream through the gates like it’s Disneyland, bands play country covers, pigs and ponies greet grubby children’s hands, cider is dispensed by surly teenagers, gathering bags are passed out at $15 a pop, and you trample through the grounds in the hopes of finding one of the trees that hasn’t been picked over (at least in late October).
We ended up finding a (semi-)secluded spot with Fujis and Staymans, and were pleasantly surprised by the rows of green beans and peppers we were also allowed to pick. It was actually a gorgeous day out, we made off with a couple bags of fruit and veggies, and by the end, we had a good day. But isn’t it funny how these long-awaited “adventures” rarely turn out to truly be what you had envisioned?
On that note, as I warned may happen, it’s come time to throw in the towel on two 35-Before-35ers. The following two are definitively not going to happen by 35 (if ever), for very different reasons.
I tried, man. I really did. I made it to page 200, like the blog on how to read it advised, but it was like dragging myself up a staircase with my hands. (Unlike the blog suggested, I actually didn’t mind the Wardine section.) I arrived at the oasis in the desert that turns out to be a mirage; you get there, look around and say “where the hell is all the water they said would be waiting for me?” Where was the great reveal? Nothing was delivered that explained the intellectual obstacle course I had just muddled through, nothing began tying together, and no character seemed like a real person (except, ironically, Wardine). I guess I’m just not interested in trying to dissect the mad genius of the late author; some people get off on that kind of challenge, but I have never been a patient woman. I need to comprehend the story line to some extent, and this book is not one that I looked forward to returning to after I put it down. I really wanted it to be. I’m not one to give up on a literary challenge (I mean hey, I’ve read my share of Russian novels) and I hate putting books (or anything) down before I’ve finished, but the thought of continuing for another 1,000 pages felt like a dissertation looming over me. And as I said before, the minute anything on this list starts feeling like homework, I reserve the right to cease and desist. There’s an outside chance I’ll pick this one up again later in life, like if I’m on bed rest for an extended period of time. But it’s not happening in the next few months. There are too many other books that I can’t wait to read, and I could read five of them in the time it would take me to finish this one.
This one will happen. Someday, probably not too far off. But between now and 35 I have time for one major vacation, and Brazil priced us out. Being the land of my husband’s origin, it was our first choice honeymoon destination, but at over $1,300 per round trip it rules itself out for a December getaway. Surprisingly, Hawaii is turning out to be a more affordable option, so as I predicted this one must be amended from Go To Brazil, to Go Somewhere Amazing and Otherworldly.
As a friend of mine—and most other people—would say: “First world problems.”