After Apple Picking...What Now?

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"Essence of winter sleep is on the night,/ The scent of apples: I am drowsing off."

Robert Frost's "After Apple Picking" speaks about the picking of apples from trees before the winter approaches.  Frost complains about the excessive amounts of apples that he has painstakingly picked and about how it has tired him.  Well, what do you intend to do now, Mr. Frost?

Apparently he has no desire to pick more apples, but perhaps the coming winter has partially made a decision for him.  The season is not kind to plantlife, and hence it is easy to say "of course you don't pick apples in the winter!" But Frost specifically mentions that although he is tired, there is a contemplation of sleep itself.

The opening quote comes from lines seven and eight of the poem.  Looking down further at lines 37 through 42 contemplate the nature of the sleep.  Frost mentions in the lines preceding 37 that he is tired from picking the apples and that there is an abundance of them within his fruit cellar.  Interestingly, even though he has made mention of sleep before in the poem, it remains ambigous. 

There is the obvious "winter sleep": the death of plants and fruits, but there is also the sleep from a desire to recooperate.  In line 38, Frost hints that the multiple kinds of sleep are possible for him.  Is he suggesting that he is merely tired, or that perhaps he is nearing death? He goes on to speak of the woodchuck's hibernation and then counter it with mere human recooperative sleep.

The sleep after the apple picking is ambiguous, but intriguing.

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