Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Green and Pleasant Land

     I was born in a green and pleasant land between the mountains and the sea.

     Time and tide have swept me inland to a fruited plain where cornlands break in waves along the western shores of the horizon and the only mountains rise as brick and mortar pinnacles above canyons of business and industry.

     I often hunger for my homeland and when I return, a trip to the mountains stands as high on my list as a visit with friends and family. It is not gentle land up among the peaks of these ancient hills, but steeply fierce and rocky. Above it all, like a frosty old troll squatting over a nest of beaky squabs with its winter hair flowing down its back, around its shoulders and into its lap, looms The Mountain. Of course, the peak itself is illusive and is often cloaked in cloud as it was on the day my husband and I visited last week.

     We stopped at Paradise, a lovely alpine landing between the cold shoulder blades of the peaks, and hiked up into the flowering meadows with the sound of wind and waterfalls breathing in our ears.

Along the way, we met a few of the lodgers.

     After our climb among the creeping clouds and mystic mist, we sheltered among the giants in the forest. As is often the case, there is something about the enormity of creation that makes one feel smaller.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Not Fireworks

     We went for a walk after breakfast. Over the river. Through the woods. The flora was spectacular. Sudden bursts of light and color like fireworks to celebrate the day.

And then we came home again.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Noble Pear

See fruitful days
Fruitful of golden deeds
With joy and love triumphing

~ John Milton ~

     I splurge on fruit in the summer: strawberries in June; ridiculously high-priced Rainier cherries in July; tree-ripened nectarines and peaches whenever I can find them; soft plums for my husband; watermelon or cantaloupe for my live-in daughter; grapes for sudden picnics.

     Not pears. Pears are not a summer fruit. I save them for September to eat with cottage cheese, or baked brie and honey, or sliced into salad greens sprinkled with marigold petals and almonds. But as I pushed my grocery cart quickly past the aisle of citrus and apples, thinking vaguely about blueberries and imported pineapple, this pear caught my eye. This hard, misshapen, aspiring green pear wearing a shriveled brown leaf like a feather in its cap. Beautiful. Irresistible. Perfect in its imperfection.

     I picture it plucked and dumped into a harvest bin in the orchard, jumbled into a cardboard box with a host of its fellows at the packing house, tumbled into a heap at the grocers. How did it manage to arrive still clinging so tenaciously to the fragile regalia of its leaf? 

     Noble pear.  

     At home, I placed it on a throne of nectarines as the crown jewel of my fruit basket. I don't even care if it ripens properly; it is a feast for the eyes and food for the soul.