That is the price of proximity: you don’t see it. Don’t know that it’s there. Then it is over.

The leaves of the chestnut tree have begun to fall onto the flagstone path in the garden, which is visible only here and there. The willow too has lost its leaves and needs pruning, it grows monstrously fast. The apple tree’s foliage has also thinned out, but from its boughs there are apples hanging, resembling little red lanterns amid all the naked branches. I ate one today, they are large, more red than green, and juicy, perhaps a little too sour, maybe they ought to be left for another week. I walked across the grass, long, soft and green, with the tart taste in my mouth, and thought about taste, the tastes of the various apple varieties, how old these tastes might be. When were they first crossbred? During the nineteenth century? The twentieth? Some tastes found in the world today are identical to tastes that existed two thousand years ago. The slightly unusual aroma, the out-of-the-ordinariness one can encounter in an apple from a private garden give me pleasure. I often think of my grandmother then, my father’s mother, the apples from their garden which we got every autumn, sometimes a whole crate, which lay in our cellar for weeks. Yes, and the smell in their cellar, of apples and plums. … It feels like I have started something new, something quite different, and that is this family. I think of it every day, that what matters is now, that the years we are living through now are when everything important happens. My previous life seems more and more distant. I am no longer preoccupied with my own childhood. Not interested in my student years, my twenties. All that seems far, far away. And I can imagine how it will be when what is happening now is over, when the children have moved out, the thought that these were the important years, this is when I was alive. Why didn’t I appreciate it while I had it? Because then, I sometimes think, I hadn’t had it yet. Only what slips through one’s fingers, only what is never expressed in words, has no thoughts, exists completely. That is the price of proximity: you don’t see it. Don’t know that it’s there. Then it is over, then you see it.

The yellow-red leaves lying wet and smooth on the flagstones between the houses. How the stone darkens when it rains, lightens as it dries.

~ Karl Ove Knausgaard, from “Autumn Leaves” in “Autumn

Photo: Apple Black and White by The-Definition via DeviatArt (via Newthom)


  1. yes, so true. i read this twice, loved every word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Linda Arzoumanian says:

    This touched me to the soul. I shared it with special people in my life and then I shared it on FB with some of my own memories of autumn. Thank you for sharing this today.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Exquisite, and achingly resonant at the moment. Recently visited my parents…they are pressing hard against 80, still the people I’ve always known, struggled against, loved, and suddenly so much, much older. What has happened to the last 30 years? Have I held them tightly enough? Appreciated the times we shared? Absorbed the lessons? “Only what slips through one’s fingers….”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Poignant and powerful, David. Words that permeate my being. Thank you. Cher xo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the quote.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Isn’t that the truth? You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I read and now am writing this as I smell the apple pie baking, made by the loving hands of my husband…we stopped at two farm stands to pick up apples, corn, cabbage, one giant onion, just barely under 2lbs (for the daughter) & to admire and take photos of the Pumpkins… on our way home last Thursday after staying three nights/four days at a beautiful log cabin along the sparkling river…he just called me to watch as he took it out of the oven…we both stuck a finger in the juicy oozing part that had spilled over the sides of the pie pan, tasty mix of apples…in ten minutes it will be cool enough to cut…the steaming pie will be put in a bowls, topped with the yummy French Vanilla Ice Cream, imaginable and my palate will explode with delightful taste as I breath in the aroma of Fall’s bounty…

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  8. Thankfully, we had the brains to taste test the ice cream first..the ice cream had been in the freezer too long ick so glad we had purchased whipping cream yesterday…the pie was delishes, used a gluten free pie crust that I purchase frozen two weeks ago (was earmarked for quiche that never happened ) so the crust just sat in the refrigerator, thawed. The blend of apples perfect combination of sweet and sour: Gravenstein, Akane, and Gala, cinnamon, nutmeg and more nutmeg, sugar, butter, corn starch and sprinkle of gluten free flour, mix, put in crust laden pie pan and rounded & pat the fruit mixture cover with the remaining pie crust, dab with butter and spices… plate it in a bowl and top with whipped cream, so yummy!

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  9. Richly written … and brings back poignant memories. If we can step back and notice what is close, there are more moments to treasure. 💛

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  10. Not all children move out. My daughter is 30 and still at home. We look after her son who is 12. Life goes on and the years pass. Every day is precious and every day is a different memory.

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  11. When I read this I knew the writer must of grown up across the big pond…I like when you have shared excerpts from Karl Ove Knausgaard in the past, he sure paints a picture //// Karl’s words brought back memories, I saw my first falling leaf of fall a few days ago/// I was called the girl with the chestnut hair, I think fondly of the fun and how much I loved the three chestnut tree’s of two varieties,around the cornor at Uncle Bill’s (not my uncle), I looked at some local chestnut trees the other day and they are plumb with light green casings with growing chestnuts inside, just waiting to fall so I can gather them, dry them put them in a bowl to admire and at least one in my pocket to finger…last year was the first year in decades that I didn’t get to gather my chestnuts…my daughter has already gathered some acorns for me 🙂 I checked out the wild apple tree along the creek about 10 days ago that we pick from, it didn’t set well only “one” apple up high, I’d been watching the tree for a few months and I thought this to be the case that some years only certain varieties do well…and I think of the times running with the cousins through the apple and pear orchards, going in and out of the packing house and the cold storage and then stepping back into the heat of fall, sitting on the farm equipment eating apples, we just picked…one of the aunts bringing us apples when she’d come to visit, once she brought us a five pound apple!! We have tree apple trees seemed to set okay but with the heat, etc they dropped early…we will go in October and u-pick some apples like we do every fall, love going out to the farm and picking…I love the fall, think I better go grab a purple prune plum off the tree, shine it up and eat it…we had hoped to harvest our grapes but the hornets won’t let us near. I got stung twice the other day going to the adjacent clothes line…PS ate lots of apple pie since apples are part of my family history, acres and acres of apples & pears, yum 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The ability to distill so much beauty and meaning into words like this…if only. Beautiful share David. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. With the changing ages we find some things of life are ageless. Those things are found, as with apples, in tradition. Those priceless things that we grow with and yet regretfully outgrow are most important to impress upon our youth. For the many fads and fancies that come and go in this whirlwind world will never keep our children grounded like tradition.

    Liked by 1 person

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