Monday, May 07, 2007

Peaches and Tomatoes

Peach yogurt is the best. Yoplait original. Ninety-nine percent fat-free (as if it matters. I haven't reached that level of enlightenment yet; fats are still part of my diet). I didn't even realize I liked peach the best until last week. Thousands of years have gone by where I have NEVER eaten peach yogurt. How can this be? Raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry-banana, all the berries of the vine I've eaten. Never peach.

And the thing is I even LOVE peaches. Growing up we had three peach trees in our yard, a veritable orchard by most people's standards. Every season, in late summer I'd eat a bushel of peaches straight off the tree, rinsed under the garden hose (it was attached to the house, so yes, potable), skin peeled off with my own hands. Sun ripened, pesticide-free, hormone-free, chemical-free, guilt-free. What a way to live, peach juice all over your hands and mouth, the summer sun on your back, the garden hose at your feet. Did it matter that the juice was sticky or that it was drizzling down my arms, dripping onto my clothes? Back then it didn't. These days I prefer fruit juice in a Minute Maid bottle, and that's a little sad.

But peach yogurt, that's not sad. That's delicious. How can it be so good? It's thrilling to think that life can still take me by surprise. That I can find out I like something I've never tried before. That on occasion I'll still take a chance and order something so unlike me from a menu at a restaurant. I've always been a person who relies on the tried and true, who doesn't mind getting her hands dirty (but rarely does), who prefers order over confusion, and who will be ruined over a small stain on a favorite shirt. But sometimes, now that I’m older, I'll go into the garden and pull a fat, red tomato* from the vine, sprinkle a little salt on it and take a bite, without even rinsing off the weather and earth. That's part of the flavor. And if a little juice gets on my hands and clothes, I'll be okay. That's part of the experience**.

*I love tomatoes almost as much as homegrown peaches. Tomato yogurt? Hell no.
**But now, isn't part of THIS experience a desperate attempt to relive the perfect, guileless experience created in my youth, which I've now elevated to represent some kind of more purposeful living? Living on purpose. You know, kids do it. We lose it when we grow up. I just think it's sad, that's all.


baughtronic said...

I still prefer raspberry or key lime, but I'd take a garden hose over either right now.

Aries327 said...

A garden hose to get a drink on a hot summer day? Yeah. You're right. Nothing beats a drink from a garden hose after playing or working in the yard. Or in some cases, the dump behind the fence in the back yard.