• Shana Ritter

Bounty

The waft of ripe peaches fills me as soon as I step onto the screened in porch. Yesterday’s  haul is piled on the old formica table waiting to be cut. A little for tonight’s cobbler, more frozen for Thanksgiving pies, and some just for that immediate glory of fruit fresh from the tree.  We planted the tree soon after we moved into this house, now more than 20 years ago, and this summer it is yielding the most bounteous harvest I can remember.

I chose a white peach tree because there were two at our family’s home in Rockland County.  More than half a century later I can taste the trickle of juice on my tongue and  conjure not just the peach’s texture and taste but the way the sky looked to a seven year old as I lay in the grass and the shape shifting clouds drifted high overhead played out the tales from the Blue Fairy Book.

The world was limitless then, I had no sense of endings, no premonitions of fears. There was wanting, longing, dreams I may have doubted would come true, but the hard lines of mortality hadn’t found their way into my landscape, not yet.

Out on the porch on a this perfect summer day I sort the peaches. Biting into one I am surprised at how rough the exterior is, how  I have to push  past the harsh outer fuzz to  the sweetness, and then how that is all that is there. That moment of ripeness, and the sky mottled with clouds, shapes I am not so sure I can discern.

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