Monday, August 11, 2008

Perfectly Overripe

I do love this time of year. July is the high point, but there's something so deliciously decadent about August. Everything in our yard gets overgrown and we stop trying to prune it back. Fruit flies invade our kitchen to get to the fruit that gets a little overripe if we leave it out of the refrigerator, and then they find the hermit crab cage and the birdcage, where I leave bits of cut-up apples and peach and blueberry. If I try to do any work, I find that the people I need to see are out on vacation for a couple more weeks. Might as well go to the pool, or the lake, or even on one more road trip, as the kids and I did last week.

We went to see my parents and then to meet my cousin and her family in Branson, Missouri. I hadn't been to Branson since I was a kid and my, how it's grown. We saw a country music comedy show, where Eleanor said she'd sprained an eyebrow (from having it raised so much.) I think her eyebrow reached its highest height when the entertainers plugged a "long-playing cd." Her second cousins, in the row in front of us, were similarly amused and appalled by the show. But they did all take their ear buds out. Walker and his second cousins played Chess and Risk and Rook and we all played Rage while we were there. We rented kayaks and the boys were surprised that I, who am so slow on land, can be so fast on water. We took out a pontoon boat one day and got so hot (being northerners) that we had to go sit inside in the air conditioning for about half an hour before we could go to the pool. Oh, and what a pool. The kids and I had been longing to go to a pool with a waterfall since we saw our first one last summer, on the big island of Hawaii, at the Hilton Waikoloa, where we had to pass the most gorgeous pool we'd ever seen on the way to what turned out to be a memorably good dinner with a spectacular view of the sunset (but no green flash). Then this summer, at Stillwater Resort, we got our long-delayed desire and got to splash into an intricately landscaped pool with a massive waterfall and a shady cave underneath with plants and a ledge to sit on and squirt each other with our hands.

That kind of perfect August happiness is described better than I can do it in this poem, From Blossoms, by Li-Young Lee:

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom, to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

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