Apples are ordinary; strawberries and figs are explicit; pears are restrained, even hesitant. Watermelons, cantaloupes, and honeydew possess the self-consciousness of the corpulent. But the peach is in a class by itself. On an August afternoon, a peach or two can spark a joy like no other—intense and enduring.
The peach is a thing of rough beauty—from the texture of its skin (white peach is an exception), to the curve of its navel, all the way to its recalcitrant seed. Its vernacular joys are tucked between the fuzz of its surface and the toughness of its core, its viscera variations of gold and pink and faint yellow. The taste– not too sweet, not too tart; not too strong, not too feeble. It’s a taste that does not call attention to itself but stays on.
The peach is a thing of languorous arrival– the anticipation of the wait and the excitement of seeing them on the fruit stands. The poet said, “We don’t love again; we love anew.” And each August, as the seasons prepare to turn, my love for the peach is made new, as though it were the first time, the first peach.
And each August, as the season of this rough beauty concludes, I am a little sad. The best peaches I’ve eaten are those of Armenia. Today, the owner of my neighborhood’s vegetable market in Yerevan, Digin Yelena, said, “The season of the peach is soon ending. I am putting some for you.” She did not wait for my agreement, but tenderly placed them in the plastic bag.
I ate two; they were still delicious though the taste was a little less intense, the skin a little less bright, but the joy still unbridled, messy and pure. ~~