Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
– Louise Erdrich, from The Painted Drum. Used with permission.
This text comes from Louise Erdrich’s novel The Painted Drum. It’s been observed that the apples here are a double metaphor. They are us, as we bloom, ripen, and live out our lives, but they are also individual opportunities. We can choose to partake, or we can let them fall to the ground, unused and lost.