What have I been up to recently? Canning apples. I am not sure why, except that our house has a nice apple tree in the back yard. The first years we lived here, it produced warped tiny things, so I just thought that was that.
We were gone last year, and when we got back, our back yard was covered with rotting apples. They looked bigger than the year before, but they were rotten. We had just not been home.
This year, the apples are bigger and edible. I don't know what type they are - sort of a mutt of apples, mostly red, but part yellow. Nice and sweet, but with a tangy flavor. Well, there they lay on my yard and I am not one to let free food go to waste. So I've been canning apples.
I've done big jars of apple pie filling and applesauce. I've done little jars of lovely apple jam. Today, I'm working on applebutter. I also picked most of my garden and did some jars of tomatoes and salsa. Right now my table is covered with various sizes and shapes of jars full with different food from the gardens. It smells nice.
But even the smell of cinnamon and cloves simmering on the stove is not lifting my mood. I'm sort of in a settled sadness. The year has come to the beginning of a new school and work year, and we should be raring to start up again. I'm not. I'm tired. This year has been a tough one. And what I did not expect in the middle of all the stress was broken relationships. I think that is what is taking the biggest toll on me personally this year.
This week we walked in to the office to see a compliant written out and the notice that one person was quitting due to a disagreement she could not get past. It wasn't even something that should have been a big deal - not a personal offense or something. It was a opinion of belief, but she could not see past it, and the relationship is broken.
Broken relationships cause pain. Even more so when they hit by surprise, when there was nothing you did to cause them nor any reason really for the break. And this one hurts. I guess I could shrug and say, "so what? We can manage without that person anyway now." and we could, but it is not their function that I miss, it is the person, the relationship. Now I find myself sad. Things that were special to this person now bring sadness and not smiles... because all they do is remind me that the relationship is broken.
So, I am canning. It keeps me busy. And apples and cinnamon usually make me feel better. Right now they aren't, but I am still canning. Maybe the taste of homemade apple pie in the cold winter will make me feel warm and cozy again. Today it seems like a remote possibility, but still there is some comfort in seeing the jars of homemade canning line up on my table. Homemade stuff spells love and comfort, and this year has been starkly short of either.
But our busy season is right around the corner - a month of meetings and trainings in which we play host to people from all over. I really need to get some energy and cheerfulness to go through this. What I am thankful for this year is that a friend is coming, one with whom I can share my heart and cry. And perhaps that is what I need more than the smell of apples and cinnamon.