Monday, March 14, 2011

Bitter Memories

RemembeRED
This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.

Share a memory of when you first tasted it, where it came from, when you last had it, a favorite way to prepare it, and such.







On the second bite I was able to declare with no reservations that this peach was the worst I had ever tasted. I spit the fuzzy skin that tickled my tongue a little too much onto the ground. Surfacing as though they heard a siren song too faint for my ears, ants eagerly discovered and celebrated my waste. A trail of bitten peach casualties behind me on the grass. The summer hadn’t been particularly hot and there had been no Biblical plague of insects on the orchard, but the peaches had gone bad.


Since my grandfather’s diagnosis, everything on his land mirrored his own life fading. Friendly animals that clucked and mooed welcomes were long gone. The grass that softened the landing steps of my running feet seemed sharper and more painful. Weeds choked the garden and blistered under a sun that felt as if it glared down in disapproval. Fruit trees bore their usual offering but with a grudge that said their heart wasn’t in their work. The peaches, along with life; had lost the sweetness.


Many harvesting seasons were behind me and I felt as though peach juice intertwined in my blood somehow. I surveyed the withering orchard and my heart sunk. Most everything had flourished under my grandfather’s watch. I had sampled everything that he had lovingly coaxed from the ground, bushes and trees; it was always perfect. Reaching out I rubbed a leaf from the peach tree between my fingers. Untrained and slightly ignorant of being a horticulturist, my only conclusion was that the trees were in mourning and missed their Master’s touch.


Perhaps one day someone would live on this farm and once again bring sweetness and beauty back. There might even be a little girl who would sit among bushels of peaches beside her grandfather on a covered porch cooled by a forgiving breeze. She would delight in the velvety texture of a peach’s flesh and would be able to work out her preteen angst under the silent companionship. For a moment under a peach tree she would be able to shed her insecurities and twirl with an imagined partner; declaring life as sweet as the peaches. Sticky, sweet peach syrup would adorn her lips as she kissed her grandparents good night and was given the freedom of being a child a little while longer.


Until then, I will mourn with the trees and leave a trail of bitter tasting memories behind me.

40 comments:

Beth Zimmerman said...

Aw Sweetie,

This must have been hard to write. But what a blessing to have such beautiful memories lined up behind the bitter one!

By Word of Mouth Musings said...

Too feel so much from this, one had to have experienced much joy to be there.
So may the happy memories sustain you ... and the line ...
the trees were in mourning ... just hauntingly beautiful!

Sue said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Well-written.

Cha Cha said...

I have been the little girl playing in the orchard and the teen hiding there. My grandfather got sick also, he cut his orchard down because he didn't want it to be a burden to anyone. I long to walk up the mountain and see those trees there full of gifts, but they are gone, the land bare, missing life. I am lucky enough to still have my grandmother and she taught my oldest daughter to make biscuits this morning. I will treasure this memory and hide it in my heart with all the others.

Once again your heart and words have taken we somewhere wonderful, even though there is some pain in the memory it is wonderful.

I hope your heart can find happy in the memory.

Cha Cha

Chris said...

You made me cry again, dear! Love you.

Leighann said...

So lovely.
Right down to the breeze blowing.
Incredible.

Jessica said...

So glad to see this here, truly love it.

Elaine A. said...

This reminds me of my Daddy because he LOVES a good peach and has several trees in his yard of both peach and pear.

I love the comparison of his life and the orchard.

More beautiful writing from you my dear...

Lizz said...

*sigh* I want to give you a big hug; I know this had to be hard to write, but it's beautiful. Truly.
@libismorgan

Galit Breen said...

I just want to reach right out and squeeze you! This must have been difficult to write. It's rich and real and raw and sad. I loved every little bit of it.

Carrie said...

This is so sad and melancholy. Sometimes the passage of time is really bitter.

My only critique is you reused the same words within a sentence of each other, 2 phrases in a row used the word trail for example. Some simple editing could fix it up :)

Jack said...

So nicely done. This is the sort of thing that I was striving for but didn't come close.

You drew us in and told a story that was compelling and interesting.

Elena @NaynaDub said...

I don't even know what to say that hasn't already been said above - other than - once again, wow. You're writing is superb.

amygrew said...

This is great. I felt bad for the trees, and the grass, and the animals, and you. Very sad.

Beautifully written.

DaisyGal said...

your writing just brings me to tears and makes me want to hug you..or bring you a peach.

this story was so heartfelt, I could see & feel all those emotions with you.

Kris Mulkey said...

What a sad story. I really felt for you and the land that was once so loved and cared for. TRDC

Sonora said...

This was a powerful post. You had me from the very beginning with the surprise of the peach. I had expected it to be sweet. I could really feel the sadness and the loss, both in you and the land around you. I'm so sorry for the pain you went through. I really did love the part at the very end with the girl dancing among the trees. It added hope to pain, which is so much a part of life.

Pamela Gold said...

Once again, you've managed to take the prompt and wring it out until thoroughly dry. In a fantastic way that is. Rather then oooh'ing and ahhh'ing about the sweet flesh of peaches, you went in a different direction and I love it.

Brandon Duncan said...

Being a farm kid and having sat beside the road when I was little, peddling the vegetables we grew in small batches, the is sad on many levels.

There is so much beyond the surface of this...

Jennie B said...

This is gorgeous. I love that you used the peaches to tell a whole story rather than just describe the fruit. Great job as always.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

Absolutely perfect. Girl, you don't need me! You have a talent for telling haunting, stick in my brain all day post. This one will certainly stay with me.

And I too can feel that pain when you see something so vibrant, full of life shrivel with time....and the disappointment of a bad peach.
(Though I did spy quite a few blossoms on my peach tree this weekend and am crossing my fingers for just a few fruit to share with my daughter. I'll let the birds have the cherries!)

Mandyland said...

This was simply amazing.

There was so much here. The trail of peaches mirroring the trail of memories. The bitterness, the loss of sweet...it was spot on perfect.

Wonderful post.

From Tracie said...

So much beauty and sadness intertwined here.

Absolutely gorgeous writing.

MamaTrack said...

This post really touched me. I could feel your heartbreak. It must have been very hard to share--thank you for letting us into this part of your life.

Law Momma said...

This post made me want to just... sigh.

A big, sad sigh.

Thank you for sharing.

Home In The Hollow said...

What a sad yet wonderful memory and hope for the future all in a single piece of fruit!...:)JP

Lydia said...

It seems weird but your post reminded me of the scene from Excalibur where the land is dying with the king...I too love how you interwove the happy memory at the end with the very sad one throughout. It makes the sadness even sadder.

andygirl said...

absolutely gorgeous writing! so sad, yet so lovely. I loved the metaphor of the dying farm with your grandfather's illness. well done!

@andygirl
awesomecrazylady@gmail.com

K Pugliano said...

The haunting memories you have written about your Grandpa's farm...

I can feel your love and loss in your words.

Beautiful.

angela said...

There is such sadness in this post, yet there is a beauty in the melancholy. It reminds me of a haunting piece of music that is filled with mourning and beauty at the same time.

MamaRobinJ said...

Really, really lovely. I was interested to see where everyone went with the fruit prompt, and this is a really good, though sad, angle. It just works so perfectly. Thank you for sharing.

danceswithchaos said...

First off, ditto to all of the above.

Second - while the piece was sad, a part of me ignored it - instead visualizing your grandfather still well and carefully coaxing everything into bloom, you running around being his helper/companion.

The pain wouldn't exist, if the love and joy did not give it cause.

As you told me of the trees lamenting the loss of his care, I pictured them in his care , o the happier time. Because I'm weird like that.

Your words are magical. Nuff said.

danceswithchaos said...

First off, ditto to all of the above.

Second - while the piece was sad, a part of me ignored it - instead visualizing your grandfather still well and carefully coaxing everything into bloom, you running around being his helper/companion.

The pain wouldn't exist, if the love and joy did not give it cause.

As you told me of the trees lamenting the loss of his care, I pictured them in his care , o the happier time. Because I'm weird like that.

Your words are magical. Nuff said.

Renee said...

How sad. Hold tight to the good memories.

I believe the land can be tied to people who cared for it.
I believe the land can mourn. And then wait fir the next good steward.

Jill said...

Aww. I hope the land recovers. What a great re-telling, CW. Ya dun good.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

A combination of bitter and sweet memories. Brought tears to my eyes for you. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you took on this prompt.

Everyoneknowsmehere said...

NOthing worse than biting into a rotten piece of fruit. I felt your loss when you were describing the orchard that no longer had the gardner with the blessed hands tending to it. I often feel like that when we drive by a place we cherished so much because of all the memories and beauty...and a Walmart is now there! Talk about biting into a rotten peach. Girl, loved the piece. Great job.

Sluiter Nation said...

I really like how you compared the dying peach orchard to your grandfather's death.

It's true that the things that were cared for and loved by someone just aren't the same once they are gone.

I liked the end where you hope for the farm...for how you picture another girl having your great experience.

This line: "She would delight in the velvety texture of a peach’s flesh and would be able to work out her preteen angst under the silent companionship."

Nice.

Nancy C said...

Beautifully done. The peach as a symbol is powerful, yet so true to life.

I remember what happened to my grandma's gardens after her diagnosis. I get it.

And that last section simply took my breath away.

Jenna said...

the emotion and description in this post was stunning. might be my favorite Ive read of yours so far. *HUG*

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