Peaches are not my favorite fruit. Correction: peaches have never been my favorite fruit … until this summer. For some reason, I just can’t quit eating peaches this summer.
Many of you know that one of my spiritual disciplines is to eat (as much as is possible) seasonally, locally, organically and sustainably. That means that I spend a lot of time at farmer’s markets in the summer, that I buy more than I need and that – like a little squirrel – I store things up for the winter. Already my pantry is full of luscious fresh frozen fruits, fire-engine red homemade tomato sauce canned in Mason jars, and perfectly preserved zucchini and peppers.
The store of foodstuffs that I have carefully “put by” (as we say in Southern Illinois) is a bit deceiving. You wouldn’t know from looking in my freezer or pantry that we’re experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. You wouldn’t realize that, despite a faithful regime of watering, my garden has not been as productive as I had hoped and, frankly, expected. You wouldn’t know, just by looking at my well-stocked winter provisions, that I am worried about the implications of this drought on food prices and the lives of those whose economic status is fragile at best and perilous at worst.
But then there is the paradox of peaches.
My tomato plants are limping along, my zucchini plants look great but aren’t producing much, and the beans were baked before they ever really got started. But the peaches are amazing!
It turns out that, in dry years, the fruit is always sweeter and the flavor is more concentrated. It’s sort of the fruit trees’ way of coping with the heat and the lack of rain.
Oh, that we would model our own coping strategies after the fruit trees, so that when faced with adversity, we would become a sweeter and more concentrated version of ourselves!
I have NOT been noticing an increase in sweetness lately as the sluggish economy continues to worry us, and political campaigns at every level are in full swing. But, as these local peaches find their way into supermarkets around the nation, maybe they will work their magic upon us.
As summer turns to fall and we take stock of this year’s harvest, may you become more and more deeply aware of God’s abundance. May you dive into the sweetness of the season, and get caught with it dripping down your chin!
(The lyrics above are from a song by “The Presidents of the United States of America” that was released while I was in my twenties. I use it as the title of my reflection, because it is always the song that is running through my head while I am savoring fresh peaches!)