Kelly's Orchard by Stan Long

"We built a fence of ancient, ten foot cedar rails, bought up country at the cost of 25c a rail to set off the apple orchard that bordered our property. It was a five acre hobby orchard owned by old man Kelly, grandson of an Irish immigrant who settled the land in the late 1 800.' It was the last comer of the homestead, complete with its original farmhouse, that remained unsold.

The construction of the fence was simple, just two rails mortised into posts at ten foot intervals. When I had finished, a blue-jay was the first creature to survey it. An obstruction had been placed where none had been before and it was interesting to watch the effect it had on both people and animals.

Our cat used it that afternoon as a scratching post and in subsequent days the local birds and squirrels used it as a runway after rain when the grass below was sopping wet. A ground-hog, that great predator of the vegetable garden, used it as a vantage point from which to spy upon us before raiding the bean patch.

One memorable sunny day in May, when the orchard was a tidal wave of blossom, the owner's aged wife came ambling down one of its scented avenues and dared our fence to support her weight. No doubt that venerable old lady, being a farmer's wife, was more familiar with cedar rails than we were, for we doubted its strength while she had no qualms.

The fence still stands, its rails as springy as they were a century ago."

Kelly's Orchard

His trees are from gray iron cast
the heat anneals each ardent flower
and orioles are cut from glass
this hammered hour

at pruning he'd not hesitate
now massive angles frame the sun
to hold one flower's fragrant weight
an afternoon

his ashes give heart to the root
and make this grove a hallowed place
where blossoms and their promised fruit
assure his peace

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