Picking apples

It is a weekend in early autumn. The girl with her whole family goes to the village, where her grandparents and aunt live. The girl loves going to the village, because it is a place where all of her aunts and cousins are usually gathering for the weekends. As an apple picking season approaches, everyone is trying to come to the village on the weekends to help grandparents harvest the apples. It is a sunny, but a little cold and windy morning. Everyone gets ready to go to the orchard, bringing all the necessary tools. Once they get to the orchard, grandpa gives everyone instructions and divides the workload - those responsible to pick the apples from the lower branches of the trees, use the stairs, climb the trees, distribute the apples in boxes, load the boxes into the farm tractor, and take them home. Grandpa knows who is good at what. The girl loves climbing trees, but she is the youngest (12 years old) in the orchard and everyone is worried about her assignment. They are skeptical about the girl’s skills to pick the apples in a right way - keeping the apple stems intact and putting the apples in the basket gently, which is important for the apple to be kept longer.  But she is so determined to climb the trees that adults cannot stop her. Grandpa finds a smaller basket for her so that she does not have to carry a heavy load.

She starts climbing the tree with her basket and picking the apples. However, her mom and aunts are checking on her and telling her not to go onto the higher branches, which annoys her. The trees are about 8-10 meters high. She knows that she can reach the branches that others cannot because she weighs less, and thinner branches can hold her. However, she feels that the adults do not take her work and skills seriously, and consider that she is doing it just for her own joy. But the girl is eager to contribute to the collective work and be seen as a reliable worker. Although she feels it is a little risky to climb the higher and thinner branches, especially when the wind is shaking the branches which she stands or holds on, she is quite daring to do so, and gets even more excited and confident about the apple picking process. She also enjoys taking breaks by sitting on a comfortable branch and eating apples.

Time after time she is calling out from a tree saying, “look at me, how high I climbed!” She is also trying to pick the apples and fill up the baskets quickly in order for her significant contribution to get noticed.

By afternoon grandma sends a delicious lunch to the orchard. They make a table out of the wood boxes, put grandma’s lunch on it, and also add some tomatoes and greens picked from the field. Grandpa also calls others from neighboring fields and orchards, and everyone sits around the “table” to eat. The lunch time is also a time for “reporting” and making plans for the rest of the working day. And yes! Grandpa distinguishes and endorses the girl for the number of baskets she filled and also for climbing high on the trees. Others also agree and give her a warm smile and also some names, such as “a little monkey”, “a bird”, “a little crumb”. The girl is happy, because it is not only the family, but even the neighbors who have now learned about her great work. After lunch they proudly climb the next apple tree. And at the end of the day she even deserves to drive grandpa’s farm tractor home.