Orchard in Gray (Prose)

It’s amazing how a different backdrop over a familiar setting can so drastically change its feel.

My Dad and I are driving from Illinois to Texas today on a dual-mission roadtrip. On the way, we stopped at an apple orchard outside St. Louis to buy apple cider donuts for the friends we’ll be visiting.

It was at least 10am when we pulled in – by that time, it would normally look like the height of a bright sunny morning in the midwest. But today, the sky was a thick, overcast gray. Wind played the boughs of the apple trees beyond the parking area. Prequel or epilogue spats of rain sniffed our faces as we stepped from the car. I had been to this orchard before; it was located not far from the undergraduate university I had attended ten years previous. But though the grounds were familiar, today it was empty — the equivalent of a tumbleweed-infested ghost town.

I had never visited an apple orchard on such a cloudy day before. Nor seen one so dormant before. It was like visiting a movie set after the shoot had long since finished. Like walking the grounds of a theme park after the last day of the season. It was beautiful. Don’t get me wrong – I love myself a nice, lively orchard. But something about it was peacefully, demurely, hauntingly beautiful.


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