This week, we’d like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.
Share a memory of when you first tasted it, where it came from, when you last had it, a favorite way to prepare it, and such.
On the second bite I was able to declare with no reservations that this peach was the worst I had ever tasted. I spit the fuzzy skin that tickled my tongue a little too much onto the ground. Surfacing as though they heard a siren song too faint for my ears, ants eagerly discovered and celebrated my waste. A trail of bitten peach casualties behind me on the grass. The summer hadn’t been particularly hot and there had been no Biblical plague of insects on the orchard, but the peaches had gone bad.
Since my grandfather’s diagnosis, everything on his land mirrored his own life fading. Friendly animals that clucked and mooed welcomes were long gone. The grass that softened the landing steps of my running feet seemed sharper and more painful. Weeds choked the garden and blistered under a sun that felt as if it glared down in disapproval. Fruit trees bore their usual offering but with a grudge that said their heart wasn’t in their work. The peaches, along with life; had lost the sweetness.
Many harvesting seasons were behind me and I felt as though peach juice intertwined in my blood somehow. I surveyed the withering orchard and my heart sunk. Most everything had flourished under my grandfather’s watch. I had sampled everything that he had lovingly coaxed from the ground, bushes and trees; it was always perfect. Reaching out I rubbed a leaf from the peach tree between my fingers. Untrained and slightly ignorant of being a horticulturist, my only conclusion was that the trees were in mourning and missed their Master’s touch.
Perhaps one day someone would live on this farm and once again bring sweetness and beauty back. There might even be a little girl who would sit among bushels of peaches beside her grandfather on a covered porch cooled by a forgiving breeze. She would delight in the velvety texture of a peach’s flesh and would be able to work out her preteen angst under the silent companionship. For a moment under a peach tree she would be able to shed her insecurities and twirl with an imagined partner; declaring life as sweet as the peaches. Sticky, sweet peach syrup would adorn her lips as she kissed her grandparents good night and was given the freedom of being a child a little while longer.
Until then, I will mourn with the trees and leave a trail of bitter tasting memories behind me.