Sunday, February 11, 2007

the peach

Originally uploaded by +fatman+.

a found poem

Most people experience
a truly great piece of fruit
very rarely

that perfect peach
you ate one summer day
long ago

a taste you hope for
in every subsequent peach
but never quite recapture

Found in Jillian's PaperForager, in a piece attributed to a New Yorker profile of the Fruit Detective by John Seabrook

This happened to me twice.

The first time was early autumn in Boulder, Colorado. It was late, around 9, and a chill misty rain was falling. I ran into my housemate on campus and together we mounted our bikes for the ride home.

(There was a three year period in my life when I rode in a few buses and airplanes, but managed to avoid cars entirely. During that time I only rode my bike or walked. This was then. When finally I did step into a car it felt like the sky was falling, the roof over my head was so startling and strange.)

As we were unlocking our bikes Tim said: "I know a great peach tree on the way home," and he led the way.

The peach tree was personal property, and I was a bit of a prude. I didn't want to climb the fence and steal the peach. I was reading St Augustine's City of God for a class assignment, and could think of nothing but that pear tree and the stolen fruit.

Besides: I was pretty sure I didn't like peaches, because the fuzz made me gag. Tim thought I was being ridiculous, left his bike in my hands and scurried over the wall.

A sidenote: Tim was a kung fu master -- it was he who introduced me to Jackie Chang, early Jackie Chang, god bless him for all eternity -- and watching him scramble over a fence taller than his head was a particular treat. I didn't mind being left behind.

He returned shortly with two peaches, which he pulled out from under his shirt where he had tucked them in for the return trip. I can only speak for mine because he devoured his. It was same temperature as the air around us, which meant that it was perfectly chilled. It was washed with the gentle mist that was washing my cheeks, and it was ideally just-enough-juice-running-down-your-chin ripe.

I had never tasted anything so wonderful. I suspect it was the combination that did it -- the perfect fruit and the trespass -- because even though I didn't scale the wall, I felt guilty for eating the contraband. I wasn't inclined to break rules, still am not, but the illicit thrill of it was undeniable.

I would taste something just as sweet, underscored by that illicit thrill, later, when the stakes were higher, when scaling the wall couldn't be undone and would shatter and shake many of the other walls that were erected in my life.

And when I did I remembered that peach.

But that's another story for another time.


db.w said...

If blogger had faves like flickr, i'd fave this post! such beautiful prose and a wonderful story.

must be something about the peaches in the mountain west. the best peach i evah had was found at a roadside stand just outside of salt lake city. so sweet, so juicy, so perfect.

i've never had a peach since that even came close to that utah peach! and that family peach orchard has now given way to subdivisions, a strip mall and an albertsons. alas, the peaches are gone forever.

i'm going to georgia this summer, perhaps i'll get lucky and find a roadside peach stand.

Lolabola said...

We used to go to the Okanagan when I was a kid and buy peaches and other yummies from the roadside stands. My dad grew up there.....the best peach memory I have is from 2 years ago when Okanagan peaches were on a major sale at the local supermarket. I bought a box and every single one was heaven. HEAVEN! I couldn't believe it. Now I have very high expectations of boxes of peaches and alas they never measure up.

Lolabola said...

Oh yeah and what a fabulous picture!

Anonymous said...

Nadia Seremetakis has called this "the impeachment of nostalgia" (from senses still).

suttonhoo said...

Thanks for the rec, Anon. I wasn't familiar with Seremetakis.

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