Wanting Apricot Pie

by Lynda Webb

Photography by Carey Kelley

Deep in the Rio Grande Valley, close to the old schoolhouse, there is an apricot tree. With a black-barked, gnarled trunk, it watches the mountains. A Blue Norther, late this spring, sweeps down the Franklins and twirls deep into the barren, rocky crevices, whispering about death. Buffering the sudden coldness, hearing the deep-in-the-night howls of the wind, she awakens. A battle outside, midnight duelthe valley, the apricot tree, and the deep history of late frost and first buds. The storm whirls into other orchards as dawn rises; the silent sun inches over the pink-tipped mountains.

With her hands deep in the pockets of her jacket and her breath caught in her throat, the history of this tree calls her name. She closes her eyes, seeing the bluish veins deep in her quivering hands, outlining her life as she writes the recipe with a nubbed pencil.

“Cardamom, pinch of cinnamon, slow oven, fresh-picked, over-ripe apricots tucked deep into the butter crust,” she calls out loud. She knows time will talk to nature as the week passes, deep in conversation over budding and fruiting until branches rise with luminous color, bringing bees and the scent of summer.

Deep in the pantry, she finds the scarred box of recipes; tucked under the lid, one spells out “Apricot Pie by Gladys,” stained and worn. She is ready to bake, to share the stories deep in her heart about the valley,the apricot tree and luminescent blooms.

Lynda Gerdin Webb has an MA from the University of Texas at El Paso where she studied fiction with Raymond Carver.Her fiction has been published in About Place Journal and South Shore Review.

Carey Kelley lives in Terlingua, and her work is thus: a desert; a brown dog; some dead things.