The sky was clear, but the trees were tall and the apples small, so the pickers slowed their pace. Bereft of any boxes to pick up, I assigned myself a new task – clearing away the wild grape vines from three small apple trees that were becoming overgrown with them.
It was slow work…detangling, cutting, pulling, the long, clinging vines. The vines were well-established, rising thick from the ground, dripping with blue-purple fruit, twining their fingers around the branches. As I pulled, the grapes crushed in my hands, staining my fingers, my wrist, my gloves, my shirt.
I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples there was no man with me.
It is unusually warm for October, and I am in a strange, contemplative mood. I crawled under the overhanging branches and vines to the base of the tree, finding the roots of the vines and cutting away at them with my pruners. Rootless, they would be easier to pull.
They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
It is unusually warm for October, and I am in a strange, contemplative mood. I pulled at the vines, yanking in impatience when they refused to yield. I removed them all, the young and the old, the short and the long, leaving the trees free from all burdens, no longer smothered.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying “Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
There are some apples on the trees and on the ground around the trees that could not be harvested before because of the vines. I grabbed a bucket to clean them up. It is October, and I am on my knees beneath a tree, picking up stray apples with these grape-stained hands…
there is a sober thankfulness in my heart…
and I know that I am more blessed and more loved than I could ever deserve.
Note: The bible verses are from Isaiah 63:3, Psalm 22:18, and Matthew 27:46, respectively.