The assignment was to observe a fruit or vegetable for at least an hour. I thought it was crazy and pointless but not so ridiculous that I would not do it and earn a bad grade. Before I started, I read Samuel Scudder’s essay “Learning to See” where he talks about having to do a similar type of assignment but with a fish. He eventually became engrossed in the fish and so I became determined that I was going to try to find all I possibly could about my apple in the hour that I had. With this in mind, I chose an apple from my bowl of fruit and prepared for what I thought would be a tedious sixty minutes.
I grabbed some paper and a pen, turned on some music, and began the observation process. I started just by writing everything I could see on the outside of the apple. The skin of the apple had many different shades of red as well as a yellow patch on one side. It was covered in dark red stripes that looked like quick paint strokes from a tiny paintbrush. Little white and yellow dots gave it the appearance of a speckled egg. I then noticed the apple’s shape as well as the lumps, dents, and scratches on its skin. It was slightly cold to the touch, as well as smooth and dry. I was tempted to go ahead and cut the apple open but I wanted to make sure I had written down all the small details that would normally go completely unnoticed.
After I was sure I had noted as much as I could about the outside, I sliced the apple in half horizontally to observe the inside. When it is cut horizontally, the little pit where the seeds are kept is in the shape of a star and feels like thin cardboard. There were five seeds, all dark brown and shaped like a raindrop. The flesh was softer on its own without the protection of the skin and almost mushy. When I looked even closer, it seemed that the flesh of the apple was made up of tiny crystals that glistened in the light because of the juice and its cream coloring. The inside was even colder since it was wet. The sweet smell of the apple grew stronger and I finally gave in and took a bite.
I wrote about the crunchiness, how crisp it was, how my teeth left their impression in the apple, how the skin ripped when it was bitten, and how juicy it was. I decided to check the time at that point and was extremely surprised that I had only fifteen minutes left to finish up my notes. So I decided to get a little more creative with what I did to the apple. I began dissecting pieces of it, cutting little spots in half, finding the veins and what seemed to be roots of the apple. I even noticed how it stained the paper towel it sat on when I cut it.
Soon I realized I had just a few minutes left and so to finish it all off, I decided to see what would happen when the apple, or what was left of it, would do when thrown hard against the pavement. I quickly ran outside and excitedly hurled the apple at the ground. I was pleased to watch it break apart and splatter all over the sidewalk and even into the snow. I walked back inside and was surprised at how excited and enthusiastic I had become by going through this sort of experiment. I did not expect that sort of reaction to come from me especially when my first thoughts had been that I would end up hating this assignment and giving up on it.
I never would have believed someone if they had told me that I would one day spend an hour observing an apple, and in the end, find that I had actually enjoyed it.