MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD son Lewis loves apples. He would try to live on them if he was allowed. I’m sure he developed his love of apples, and indeed other fruit, when in the womb.

Unborn children eat what their mothers eat, and I remember my wife Kate consuming basket loads of apples and other fruit when she was carrying Lewis. Last weekend, we were fortunate to be invited to an orchard in East Lothian to pick some apples.

As we entered Lewis stopped for a moment and said “Wow”.

He has seen apples growing on trees before, but I think it was the sight of so many apple trees together all in fruit. It was a visual feast, even for me.

And so we picked some apples, in the company of a friend who uses local fruits to make juices. Lewis just couldn’t decide which apple tree to pick from first. He wandered about in awe, eyeing the apples.

There were many varieties in the orchard, but I sadly can’t remember all their names.

“I think Lewis is in paradise,” I remarked as I watched him.

“What’s paradise?” asked my nearly six-year-old inquisitive daughter Skye. I had to think about my answer.

“Some people say it’s a perfect place, but other people say it’s a perfect feeling”.

“Can be both then, maybe at the same time” Skye replied.

I smiled and agreed. We both watched Lewis, as he wondered under the small trees, dancing with delight at the sight of so many delicious looking ripe apples.

“Yea” said Skye, “Lewis is definitely having paradykes”.

“We say in paradise” I said, in a bit of a teachery tone.

“But you can have it too” insisted Skye “because it’s a happy feeling”.

How could I disagree? “You’re right” I smiled.

“This one” Lewis called out. The apple was just out of reach and so his sister ran up and carefully picked it for him, in the way she had been shown. Lewis studied the apple before eating, savouring the moment.

He was indeed both in, and having, paradise.

We collected a small basket full of apples of different varieties, and after giving our thanks we started our walk back to the car. As we meandered along the path Skye asked for a story about an apple.

So I told the story of Johnny Appleseed. Then a riddle; “A wee roond hoose, sometimes red, sometimes green, the maist bent lum ye hae e’er seen. Nae windaes or doors tae open or slide, it has a secret, there’s a star inside.”

The answer of course is an apple. The bent lum (chimney) being the stalk, and the star being the seed core when the apple is cut horizontally through the middle.

As we walked, I reflected on the symbolism of the apple, and how it has been used in folklore and legend. And of course there is the famous apple which fell on Newton’s head.

Well it probably didn’t really fall on his head, as that seems a later embellishment, but for sure Newton himself often told the tale of the falling apple and the inspiration it gave him. He lived well into old age, and I think he understood the power of a story to convey the meaning of an event or idea.

We approached our car and I took my son’s hand to keep him safe as we crossed the road.

“Dad” he said looking up at me, “you are my walking apple”.

I laughed at the image and wondered what he meant. Was he referring to my rotund body shape perhaps?

“Why am I your walking apple?” I asked him.

“Cause I love apples and you are walking with me” he said, with a sense of poetic meaning only a young child can convey.

I was momentarily overwhelmed by this simple but moving comment. Lewis, aged only four, conveyed a powerful symbolism for apples that morning.

The apple falling from the tree in front of Isaac Newton was a symbol of scientific discovery. For my son, an apple is a symbol of love. And my son loves the apples he eats, and the ones which walk with him. And you can never have too many, of either kind.