I Owe It To These Cherries
S Lynn Knight

What a delicious story! I could almost taste those cherries while reading.

I had some cherries earlier in July, too, except they didn’t come from the grocery store. There is a big old cherry tree behind the local Catholic church. Although I avoid religion like the plague, I happen to know the priest and I once asked him about the tree. He said that the cherries were for everyone and to help myself. So I crossed the street to inspect the tree.

The tree was pretty much picked clean but I managed to find and pick a few cherries and immediately plop them in my mouth. The cherries on this particular tree are sour cherries and they seemed especially tart this year. But that didn’t bother me. The idea of eating fruit DIRECTLY from the tree takes mindful eating to an even higher level of joyfulness.

If I was a giraffe I could have gotten more cherries from the top of the tree and I could have plopped the cherries off the tree with my giraffe tongue. Being human, I had to pick the fruit off the tree with my hands so there was a buffer time of about 1/8 of a second between tree and mouth. The shorter the time lapse between tree and mouth, the more life force one consumes and that is important to me.

Like you, peaches are my number one all-time favorite summer fruit. Sadly, the Georgia peaches we get in the grocery store here are all picked way before they are ripe then they are shipped and stored and by the time they are eaten they just aren’t as delicious as if we were actually in Georgia picking the fruit off the tree and immediately stuffing it in our mouths.

The Colorado peaches we get are usually much better. I get them from a roadside vendor who personally picks the fruit and drives it from Colorado to be sold here the next day. I ate plenty of them this summer but sadly Colorado peaches are already over.

Right now I have my eyes on some Nebraska peaches. Nebraska peaches are small; only about half the size of a good Georgia or Colorado peach. But they are still peaches and they are still delicious.

Recently I discovered a little peach tree growing out of the back of one of the city’s tennis courts. It’s literally growing out of a big crack in the cement. It is only about 8 feet tall and has not been taken care of. It is wild and scraggly.

When I was walking by it the other day I noticed that despite the tree’s tiny size it was exploding with peaches. It had so many peaches on it that all the branches were hanging down towards the ground from all the weight. I went over and squeezed a few peaches and determined that they were about two weeks away from being ripe. Nebraska peaches ripen far later in the summer than peaches from other states.

The tree is on public property in a public park so, although I avoid playing tennis like the plague, I’ll be headed to the tennis courts in about two weeks with a big bag.

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