Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Dirty Air of Harvest

Almond blossoms. They scent the air with perfume in February, turning Winter's bare branches into pale pink and snowy bouquets.

Yes. That was then, and this is now. Most of the blossoms, having matured into tasty nuts, have been shaken from the trees by a machine with a giant claw, blown or swept across the bare and dry soil by sweepers and blowers, sucked up off the dirt by gigantic vacuum cleaners, and shot into trailers to go to the hulling mill.

The very fine dust that was shaken from the trees as well, blown and swept across the orchards, sucked up and thrown into the air ... has stayed there. Well, for the most part. Some of it has dropped onto houses and shrubbery and sidewalks and sinuses.

I rode through the orchards today, noting which quadrants were done, which were still to be shaken or swept or hoovered up, hoping that I'd be able to avoid a thick cloud of dust. Fortunately we did, or the wind was blowing in an auspicious direction. Although by the time I was home I felt caked with dust on my skin, I had experienced the sweet, delicious scent of kiwi fruit wafting from their little orchard.

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