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?
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.