I was down in Pike Place Market today to meet up with a relative. After various things and getting him pointed at a cyber cafe and his shuttle to his hotel, I headed back home and thought I’d do a spot of shopping.
I used to shop in the market all the time, especially when I worked just down the row from it, but with the summer crowds and the inconvenience, I’ve pretty much stopped, so it was quite a treat to “grab a few things”: a few handmade garlic sausages, Turkish-spiced lamb chops, proper Huntsman cheese and a nice sharp cheddar, a bunch of asparagus so fresh it snapped in the bag, and peaches.
Oh my god, the peaches! Heavenly double-fist-sized fruits ruddy as Mars. The perfume of them hangs in the air of the boat and I think I’m back on Uncle Vernon’s farm for the summer when I was a kid, running barefoot and filthy up and down the orchard rows, squealing with delight, juice-smeared and sticky. Mmmm… the peach leaves, shaped like little swords, sticking to the juice on hands and arms and clothes. The smell of the trees and the sun-heated fruit in the hot Central Valley air, mixing with the odor of compost and red dirt and smudge pots to keep the insects away…. Memory floods back as golden as sunlight through the peach tree boughs. This is Summer; this smell.
Cutting one of this afternoon’s peaches open reveals a sunrise from the ridged, pinked pit, gold flesh tuning red near the burnished skin. The juice runs down over my hands and biting into the half sends trickles down my chin. I have to eat them over the sink. The slightest orange tang on the tongue piques the melting, soft sweetness of the flesh and the velvety skin touches lips and tongue, clings a moment, slides away…. Ooohhhh… it’s so good. The taste of Summer, the feel of simple delight remembered and relived.
We’ve eaten 3 of them already. Only 3 left….