There are certain things that keep me going when my connection to the mortal coil begins to chafe and itch. Apple blossoms are one of those things. The apple blossoms have bloomed in our two Texas apple trees in April of 2016. As I was raking endless live oak leaves out of my yard, making it harder for myself to breathe and continue living because I am allergic to live oak… and most of the rest of Texas to boot, I saw that the apple blossoms had burst forth from their buds. Between coughs and gasps for breathe, it made me smile. I ended the raking of endless live oak leaves after only thirty minutes and one sack of leaves. I am laboring in the face of impending doom, but I am not stupid. I needed to live to rake another day. Otherwise I’ll never get it done.
But apple blossoms are worth the heartache and pain and toil of life. They are not only something to remind me why I keep going. They are a reason for being. So I used my phone camera to take a picture of an open blossom. Then I photo-shopped in a picture of my novel character, Valerie Clarke, the character I created as an amalgam of my lovely daughter and the pretty little girl in my third grade class that I fell madly in love with when I was a little boy. Like most artists, I am quite capable of slapping beautiful things and ideas together haphazardly to make something that is either a huge pile of kitschy crap, or even more beautiful. And like most artists, I am entirely too close to the feelings and memories and realities that make up this work of art to ever know for sure which of the two things it really is. Forgive me if I chose the opposite one that you did. I try not to offend with my Paffoonies. I try not to be a creep or a bore or a Philistine… but those things are not always possible to avoid. But there are apple blossoms, and sunrises, and a number of other things as well that, in the end, balance out the equations quite nicely.