Apple picking at nine o'clock! Of course I am getting up late. This is fine though, it is a holiday. I find it hard to believe that I could have slept so late after sleeping so much yesterday.
Our friends pick us up and we head to North Smithfield. We go to our favorite orchard, Bardens, and are some of the first to arrive. The morning is overcast, but warm enough. I have dressed in layers and have gloves and wrist warmers.I am ready for anything.
Before heading out into the orchards, we fortify ourselves with some apple cider donuts from the farmstand. As we head out, we only pass a few people. The trees have been picked over, with most of the fruit located at the top of the trees. Fortunately, we have brought along an apple picker, which is a long pole with a wire basket at the top. This enables us to reach up to the higher branches and reach our lofty treasure.
I hand pick a few apples off some lower branches and discover that crisp, dew covered apples are not for me to touch, even with my gloves on. I become the apple spotter until my hands and the apples warm up. I am delighted to find some Fiji and gala apples on the last tree in the orchard. They are laden with fruit just waiting to be picked. They are my favorite apples and there are small ones here, just perfect for the little mouths and hands at daycare.
More friends meet us at the orchard, and in no time, we are carrying full bags of apples. We head back to the farm stand and set about finding pumpkins. I find eight small ones to paint at daycare this week. My friends buy giant pumpkins to carve into jack o lanterns. It has been a lovely apple picking outing.
By the time we get home, I am pretty tired. I make some lunch and decide to take a nap. I am hoping to go to Pronk! this evening, so the nap should recharge me.
Kaileigh, Josh and Feather have gone on a bike ride to the Blackstone Valley bike path. They come back and get some food at Not Just Snacks. Kaileigh and Feather are planning on going to Pronk! with me, and come in shortly before we need to leave. I am still trying to get dinner ready so we can eat when we return; chicken stew and apple crisp. I have quartered several apples but they are cool and not so easy to slice, since they are numbing my fingers. I put on my fisher gloves, but this makes cutting slow and awkward. Josh comes to my rescue! He is going to stay and finish making dinner while the rest of us go to Pronk!
For those who don't know Pronk!, it is the Providence Honk Fest. It has happened for several years in October on Indiginous People's day as an alternative to celebrating Columbus Day. It is a a gathering of street bands from across the country and globe who come together to share their infectious brand of music with the good people of Rhode Island. It is a crazy good time!
We make it to Wickenden Street well before the parade starts, and scout out a seat across from Cafe Zog. We watch while the parade proceeds down the hill. There are police on bikes, and then a squad car arrives to stop traffic at the very last minute.
The air is filled with the festive sounds of marching bands, drums thrumming, brass squealing. There are huge big nazo puppets, and children with cardboard fish on their heads. Local social organizations dressed in bright colors come cheering and singing, it is a cacophony of sound and chaos, a city street transformed with happy, laughing, dancing people. It is life at the top of the tree, and it is great to be here.
As the parade ends, the observers become participants, joining in the procession and following the bands down to the city's hurricane barrier. Here the parade breaks apart, and bands split off to different stages.
Kaileigh and I are lured by the sound of a familiar tune, and find ourselves in the street in front of the hurricane barrier. The band, Chaotic Noise, which has come in from Seattle Washington, is prancing and gyrating to the music they are making. The crowd joins in. We are all entranced and dancing to their energetic rhythms. They lure us beneath the highway overpass, where the orange street lights cast an eerie glow, but the concrete provides excellent acoustics for the music. We dance, laugh with delight, clap along to rhythms and enjoy the celebratory atmosphere created by the band. There are young children bopping along on the shoulders of parents, and white haired elders getting their grove on. All are enjoying the music together.
Kaileigh, Feather and I all run into people we know, waving and embracing as we go. This is a fine night in Providence, a wonderful place to be alive.