A Forest of Apples
Composed, arranged, and produced by J S Kingfisher. Harp: Gayle Levant. Flute: Geraldine Rotella. Cello: Martin Tillman. Vibes: Roger Burn. Keyboard bass, vocals, atmospherics: J S Kingfisher. Sound Design: Greg Townley. Recorded by Greg Townley at Sunset Sound; mixed by Greg Townley at Conway Studios. Mastered by Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab. Painting: Detail from "A Wild Forest of Apples" by Michael Eade.
Copyright J S Kingfisher, 2013. All rights reserved.
A Forest of Apples was initially recorded as a live trio: harp, flute, and cello. The late, great Roger Burn recorded the vibes solo later – in one take. The keyboard bass was added at the last minute, mid-mix.
Source Material for "A Forest of Apples"
Dream Diary, March 1997, Sacramento. I walked along the shore across from the small island that split the creek. On the island there was a studio of whitewashed stone and glass, and in there and on the opposite shore people were sculpting in clay and throwing pots on kick wheels; most of them were women.
I stepped out on to a narrow peninsula that jutted out into deeper part of the creek in front of this island, and stood near a large white bird - a sort of cross between a goose and a crane - that seemed to be feeding. A man and his small son joined us; they had a little box filled with tiny black nautilus-like shells, with thin gold lines that traced their spiral pattern. The boy handed them one by one to the bird, who eagerly swallowed them.
I tried to feed the bird an apple core; the bird wasn't interested and left it floating in the water near its feet. I noticed another core in the water too, and became concerned that people were spoiling the creek. Then I looked around and realized apples probably found their way to the creek all of the time: I was in an apple forest. There were shoulder high bluffs above each bank, and the gnarled trees with their dangling fruit hung over the water, and stretched in all directions as far as I could see. I became aware that my partner Hugh was there among the sculptors. I watched the sunlight dance on the water, filtering through the leaves.
Then Hugh was looking for the art he had made – the afternoon had begun to get late, and everyone else had gone. I started to help him look; I crossed the stepping stones to the little studio on the island and went inside. Everything in there had been cleaned up – there was a lot of greenware covered with damp white towels. I undraped a tall, thin piece in the center room. It was made of several human figures about five inches high, connected and stacked arm to arm and foot to shoulder, kind of like paper dolls. I called out to Hugh, "Is this it?" and began to explain the piece, but Hugh answered from the far shore, "No, nevermind, I found it." I covered the figures with the damp towel and went outside.
Hugh stepped across the creek and met me there on the bank. He was holding an exquisite earthen bowl, shaped deep like a lily just open, and glazed royal blue. The lip rolled over the edges like ocean waves, and the inside was painted with large white and yellow blossoms. "It's beautiful," I said, moved almost to tears because it truly was, and he said "Yes," turning it over and over in his hands. The sun arched toward setting in the trees behind him, and he and this place were radiant with peace.
It was then I noticed a particular tree, an apple tree just above the peninsula where I had stood with the bird. The creek above it had split in such a way that the water swirled down around it, flowing translucent around the base of the tree and into the quieter, deeper section in front of the island. It formed a spiral just like the gold pattern on the shells, but moving in the opposite direction.
Hugh had crossed the creek again, and climbed up around the pools above. "So where do you think we are?" I asked.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, where is this place?"
"I mean, it's kind of like Hoofhaven, but it's not." Pause. "I think we're dreaming, don't you?"
Hugh beamed back. "Yeah. I guess we are."
I crossed to the other side of the creek. Hugh came back down, and was showing me some of the detail on his bowl. Inside of it, at the bottom, there sat a shallow dish. It was made of clear, thick glass with an inscription painted in blue. "What's this?" I asked. "Does this go with it?" (meaning the bowl) – "No," he said, "this is really old. People have been coming here for hundreds of years.
The dish said "Aquarius 1886," and below it was a spiral. The dream faded.