Kai and I have begun to fall into some routines. One is watching the sun rise to the accompaniment of the roosters which is, each morning, like an kind of opera. One is to walk the fields for some exercise and time to think. But my favorite is the peaches.
Each afternoon as the day begins to gather its possessions for the coming of evening, like a cat assembling a pile of its toys, I take Kai’s black leash in hand and he and I go off to eat peaches. The two best trees are both a three-minute walk from my porch – the porch from which so many recent pictures have been taken (it is to me like a new bride – an image I cannot get enough of.) One tree is to the south and is so heavy with peaches James had to trim it lest it fall over. It will bear hundreds of pounds of fruit; but not yet. Its fruit will be harvested later in fall – August, September and October and is a peach with white flesh. But my favorite tree right now is, happily for Kai, on the way to the canal where he takes his daily dip.
This tree has ripe peaches these July days and a friend has taught me how to blanch them to remove the skins for freezing big bags of them for winter pies while the family which lives nearby dropped off a container to make it easier for me to carry them home from my walk (using my shirt made it sticky because the June Bugs had their first buffet.) Kai seems to know by now what the ritual is. When he gets to the peach tree he sits and looks up at me – he waits. I then wander the heavy-laden branches until I find my afternoon snack and pluck one perfect peach – one which comes off easily in my hand – a much better read on ripeness than a squeeze. That first bite, warm in the late sun of a New Mexico afternoon is surreal. Even for someone who cannot taste – especially for one who cannot taste – the heat in the flesh and the lusciousness of the juice and soft meat and gentle fuzz all conspire to remind me that there is a God and that that God brings forth the fruit of the earth.”
“Blessed art Thou, O King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”
The flesh of a summer peach is a miracle, and the experience of the bite and of the feel of the peach in my hand far surpasses anything I have ever experienced on Sundays. This peach, for July and August, is my worship. Take. Eat. Do this and remember me.
In a few minutes I am off to the city to explore the farmer’s market. I need to meet the organizers and get the paper work for application to have a pottery booth there on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I love farmer’s markets. It is where Millennials worship. And some gen X-ers too and even some Gen-Z kids. They wander among the stalls of fresh fruit and vegetables, honey and soaps – they feel like the best of church – people and God’s produce, grass and flavors, smells and cinnamon rolls and dim sum carts and lavender. The farmer’s market will be my church for the summer.
A friend will be over later today to help me hang pictures in the farmhouse and I will buy crusty bread to butter, hot, and dip into stewed peaches. Have you ever tried this? Heat the bread hot and crispy, cut it open and rip out the soft insides and set the small chunks aside to toss in olive oil and salt and pepper for croutons for dinner’s salad (bake at 250 degrees for an hour.) Then butter the crusts of bread and break them into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and use them like potato chips to dip into stewed, fresh peaches like a compote. And take, eat, this too is God’s body. But tasty.