Peaches along the way

Have You found a peach this year? A good one. One worth savouring for precious minutes of Your day?

Sam Sifton from the NYT writes in his introduction:

Good morning. I’m firmly of the opinion that you get one really good peach a year, if you’re lucky, if you don’t live in the South or next to a peach orchard. One peach, soft and juicy and sweet. That’s something to treasure. When I get one, I eat it slowly, with joy…

Well, I remember those cling-peaches planted by my father on the missionstation “Roodepoort” near Ventersdorp in the old West-Transvaal just before we moved to “Enhlanhleni.” They would ripen after the mild and soaking “yellow-peaches-rain” (“geel perske rëen”) at the height of summer in February. They were the best – not just going by the looks, but also by taste. They could be enjoyed plucked from the tree, stuffed into puddings and cakes, liquified and fired-up to last as “mampoer” (peach brandy) or just laid out on racks to dry in the sun – something of a vegetarian version of biltong/jerky.

Here along the backwaters of the Elbe, I´ve not found the right peach yet. Not this year anyway, but the year is long from over. The ones I´ve tried look ok, but they are more like some foreign version of edible paper or sponge than fruit. So, I´ll keep looking as I remember the good ones – “daar in die ou Transvaal”:

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward   
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” 1986


About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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