In these parts, Pocket Canyon is the steep-sided valley through which Highway 116 wends winding its way between Guerneville and Forestville. It’s a drive I never get tired of. Redwood trees rise up upon the mountainsides, horses graze in shaded meadows, houses and barns are tucked into groves and corners here and there, and about half way along there is a bit of open space where, right now, apple trees bloom.

Bob Jones column photo

Bob Jones

I saw these trees in all their glory just a couple of days ago. They look to me like old Gravensteins, their great domes of white and pinkish blossoms gleaming in the sun.

We have Gravensteins in our yard, but they are out in the open, and they were in full bloom a week or so ago. The apple trees in Pocket Canyon endure a lot of shade, and so they bloom later, it would seem, and their blossoms are bigger and last longer. Beneath the high hills, beneath tall green redwoods, with the sun shining upon them near the middle of the day, these are the most brilliant and inspiring apple blossoms I have ever seen.

I thought to myself, even in a land of senseless mass shootings, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon. Thanks be.

Even in a nation that can’t control its guns though a vast majority of people want it to, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon.

Even in a world in which pandemics can strike from who knows where, devastating families and economies and whole societies, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon.

Even in the midst of global warming which is making it impossible to work or live in equatorial lands, setting many people on desperate journeys to more inhabitable and less dangerous temperate zones, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon.

Closer to home, even in a community that is losing its beloved high school to the changing tides of demographics and educational financing, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon. And there they are just a few miles down the road from El Molino, as a matter of fact.

And, getting down to my own little irritations, in a world where your doctors’ office or your car repair place or an insurance company or a government agency calls you with a message to call back, and so you do and they put you on hold for hours at a time and then the line goes dead and you have to start all over again, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon.

It’s not that the apple trees of Pocket Canyon can solve any of these issues, large or small, but they bring some comfort and inspiration to my concerns as I go my winding way. In a human world that doesn’t seem like it knows what it’s doing, we have the apple trees of Pocket Canyon, and they most certainly know what they’re doing, and they’re doing it so well, and they’re doing it so beautifully.


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