Edoardo Kaplan as the Apple Head

The Apple Head takes the stage

10,000 bottles of applesauce. 10,000 bottles of baked yellow plums. 10,000 bins of fresh cut Asian pears. This season, as well as during my previous residency, I was assigned to be the head fruit processor, aka “the apple head;” and one of the main virtues of this job is in its repetitive nature.


The constant undertaking of a simple action, such as cutting fruit, provides a unique opportunity to investigate mindfulness, as the repeating of a single task provides an unusually stable background upon which one can more clearly see how the varying conditions of our life affect our ability for presence and engagement.


It can be an interesting context to experiment with changing variables such as attitudes and body movements.


An attitude or view that I would often attempt to cultivate when cutting was the recognition of the complete newness and freshness of each fruit, each slice that arrived on the cutting board in front of me.


This was a space of much deeper attention, and whole-heartedness, as opposed to the possibility of slipping into a dulled mentality where the activity was regarded as mundane repetition. This mundane world is one in which everything has been “seen already,” and thus there is no meaningful reason to pay attention.  


Another investigation of mine involved being curious about how my physical movements changed depending on how much I was able to relax my body. Generally, if I am relaxed, then my movements become increasingly dynamic and full bodied, in the sense that the motion from my arms cutting can travel and reverberate throughout.


The opposite scenario is one in which my arms are moving in relative isolation or even separate from the rest of my body, due to stiffness locking the motion out of certain regions.


In the relaxed context, my entire body will wiggle with each cut. Also, in paying attention to the body, it is visible to me that there is an unspoken assumption that being wholehearted involves overly tensing my muscles.


For example, I often find myself having a tight grip, such as when holding my tooth brush, when this is simply unnecessary for the task at hand. I have appreciated learning to relax this efforting during this practice.

Honestly, I have found myself missing the job before it has even ended. This longing after what I currently have is not uncommon for me, and may seem a bit strange, but I believe it is based on the sometimes searing feeling that I do not truly comprehend or appreciate this unique life as it is occurring.


That I take everything for granted and do not genuinely realize the wonder of this moment. That it is slipping away and there is nothing to grasp onto. Frankly, I am not exactly sure what I assume my experience should be like for me to feel that this appreciation is being actualized.


Maybe a constant state of gratitude and awe? Or perhaps always keeping the reality of death at the forefront of my mind? None of this feels realistic, but it is still within me. And besides, where else will I find the opportunity to cut so many Asian pears?


For now, however, I still have fresh fruit to cut. I think this is month two of non-stop pears for breakfast. It’s been fun.


Thank you. May your fruit harvest always be bountiful,


Ed  (Pictured below, center)