Finally, it’s warm here, and the summer is pouring into the markets: apriums, berries, squash blossoms, peaches, plums, pluots, peppers, padrones. School is ending, activities are coming to and end, and things are slowing down. We’re getting out the bright sundresses and breezy shorts and living outdoors as much as possible. This poem, sent to me by a friend who has a bad poetry habit, reminds that what we eat is more than sustenance, and even more than metaphor. Even something simple and untouched, something just plucked and eaten from a tree or a bush, can create joy, fasten memory, and root us in the pure pleasure of simply being. These are among the best gifts I can give my children–joy, appreciation, that expansive feeling of life, the understanding of bounty, gratitude.
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