Thursday, August 23, 2007
I picked peaches from the tree in our backyard yesterday. The tree was loaded with flowers this spring, all of which heralded a peach when they faded and dropped.
There were so many potential peaches that we sacrificed some for the good of the harvest. If all the peaches had been left to grow, they would have been small. Compare the size of a single newborn baby to the size of a quintuplet.
The tree still produced lots of peaches-- medium sized ones. Next year we'll be tougher in the winnowing process. I'd rather produce 100 pounds of large peaches than 100 pounds of small ones.
The fruit wasn't perfect. Some hung from the branches, showing a rosy cheek, deceitfully hiding their black, speckled side. Others were plain ugly all over with split skin because their inside grew faster than the outside.
The black spots are a fungus that could have been prevented with a fungicide spray. But for an organic peach, I can stand a little skin-deep ugliness.
As I peeled more than a dozen peaches, I recalled my grandmother's words: "beauty is only skin deep."
She lived with us from the time I was nine, and taught me early on that the thin veneer of beauty is of no value if there isn't any beneath the skin. And conversely, there is no such thing as "ugly" if there is inner beauty.
Once peeled, the peaches were glistening and golden, sweeter and tastier than a supermarket peach.
I made peach crisp, adapting the apple crisp recipe, all the while popping wedges of fruit in my mouth. I mixed the topping-- brown sugar, flour oatmeal and butter-- just as tasty as the peaches.
I mowed the lawn while it baked, and sampled some as soon as I knew I wouldn't burn my tongue.
Absolutely delicious! With vanilla ice cream melting into the peach juice it will be . . . deliciously beautiful.
I don't know why beauty got such attention from my grandmother, but another saying she often repeated was "beauty is as beauty does."
This one didn't make sense to me as a child, but I understood it clearly today. The beauty of these peaches wasn't in how they looked, but rather, what they did. And what they did was make a tasty peach crisp.
I finished what was left for breakfast this morning, a beautiful way to start the day.