Harmony Chapter 16: Apples

Filed: Harmony @ 6:58am on May 17, 2011 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 1,008
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This entry is part 16 of 28 in the series Harmony

Cassiopeia and I were left alone on the side of the track in almost pitch darkness, days of walk away from the nearest humans.

Somehow, it felt worse than when I had arrived on the wheat field yesterday, but I couldn’t tell if it was because I wasn’t expecting sex in the next few minutes, if it was because I now knew what I was getting into or if it was because I couldn’t see a thing.

Cassiopeia walked toward a strange shape and soon enough, I realized it was a small tractor with a trailer and, more importantly, a head light.

Near the tractor were wooden crates and I helped Cassiopeia place one of them on the trailer.

“This is our objective for the day. As soon as it’s almost filled, we can come back. All we need to do is fill the crate and remove the weeds.”

“We can barely see anything…”

“The sun will rise in a few minutes. We’ll wait until daybreak”

It was a little chilly, but I was still comfortable naked despite having goose bumps. Cassiopeia’s skin however was completely clear showing me that she was already used to cold mornings.

She sat on the tractor seat while I sat in the crate, with my ass on the sides as if it was a bench. It wasn’t comfortable but unlike this tractor’s seat was clearly only meant for one person.

After a few minutes, the sky on the west began to illuminate itself and soon enough, I saw my first extra-solar sun-rise.

I wouldn’t say it was extraordinary, but after months in a space ship, seeing a sun rise was a victorious moment. Like yet another new beginning.

Slowly, I could feel it’s rays beginning to kiss my naked skin and for once, I truly appreciated the local customs. Somehow, I was beginning to feel more comfortable this way. Perhaps the months I spent naked on the ship out of necessity prepared me somehow…

Cassiopeia soon started the tractor and we rode amongst the small weird trees laid in oddly regular rows.

“When are we going to reach the orchard?”, I asked.

“We are in the orchard”.

Wait, what? These 3 to 4 feet tall trees are apple trees? Where are the majestic trees we could climb? Where are the tall tree we had to use ladders on to grab dozens of apples in close succession.

I looked around and could indeed see apples in the trees but each tree usually had only 3 or 4 apples, not hundreds like on earth.

I explained it to Cassiopeia but she told me that Apple Trees need a winter to truly rise, that without a freezing soil, they were unable to get much bigger.

In fact, she told me, it took years of breading in the first decades of the colony to get the first real apples and a few more years to get the trees to give apples not only of decent size instead of small baby apples but also all year long in sustainably quantities.

Now, each tree produces between 5 and 15 apples per month, all year long.

This meant that we couldn’t simply walk thru the orchard to pick the apples: we had to drive amongst the trees and never take more than 1 apple per tree, usually not even having to get off the tractor.

With 30 to 45 seconds to pick a single apple instead of one or two minutes to setup a ladder and pick over 10 apples, it meant that we would spend all day just driving from one tree to another to fill our crate.

And to say I used to think that the crate was small for two girls…

The orchard spread out for kilometers and kilometers as we drove and picked apples in a single row.

Cassiopeia’s technique was to alternate rows on each day so that she wouldn’t repeat a row too often.

We stopped for lunch when the crate was half full and I realized that the sun had not yet reach the mid-point.

After lunch, I took a small walk to uncramp my muscles and reached the side of the orchard where I saw strawberries on the other side of a small irrigation ditch.

“Hey Cassiopeia, do you want a strawberry?”

“Don’t eat those.. ”

“Why, are they poisonous?”

“No, they are edible, but they are not in the orchard. We can eat apples if we want because that’s our share, but we are not strawberry pickers.”

“Well, then, who picks those strawberries?”

“No one. They grew because one of the past apple pickers must have dropped a strawberry and they grew wild”

“Then what’s the harm?”, I asked, confused…

“We are not strawberry pickers…”

“Well, I am still in tryout right? So if I decided tomorrow to come back here and be a strawberry picker, I could, right? This could be my share, no?”

“I guess…”

“So, I am on a break from picking apple. For 5 minutes, I will try strawberry picking as a share to see if I like it. Hold on.”

I left the field and filled my lunch bag with the reddest and biggest strawberries, eating a few only to discover they were not only juicy and delicious but didn’t have any of the sour taste some of the strawberries sometimes have.

When I came back, Cassiopeia was visibly uncomfortable with my actions.

“You told me yesterday you liked what I did with Mark, despite the fact I acted against the customs, right?”

“Yeah”

“Well, now, we have delicious strawberries to eat as we continue to pick apples. It’s not different”

“But the share is sacred…”

“Yes, and we will do your share. We will bring the apples. And we didn’t overstep anybody’s share.”

“If we bring them back, then we will have”

“So, we’ll eat them here. Nothing will be changed. And tomorrow, if you pick a few for a snack, it won’t matter either because you might still eat some at supper.”

“I guess…”

Slowly, I was beginning to instil a little openness in the mentality. Bisexuality was arriving and now, slight cheating on your shares.

Eventually, it’s either be their hero, or I’ll become seen as the face of evil. Either way, I’d find a way to have fun and survive.

Series Navigation«Harmony Chapter 15: Riding eastHarmony Chapter 17: Economic Lesson»

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