In the last year I often have wondered if I'm not a Country Mouse trapped in the body of a City Mouse. For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to live in The Big City, but now I'm drawn to the rhythms of the natural world, the idea of making more and more by hand, the traditions of cooking like my grandparents.
Having followed the rhythm of our CSA for the last year, I can see the earthly world's natural progression from the crisp green of Spring to the ripeness that is August. The world is ripening right in front of us, everything giving all its got; one last hurrah before the Autumn chill sets in.
We've been overrun by tomatoes so ripe, that they seem to split and bleed before we can even even cook them. I've given up trying to plan meals around them and we eat them on toast every morning. With a little foresight and a few hours I can roast them and prolong their lives for one more week.
Everything around us is dusky, fecund, yielding to the touch. Red and orange and purple, like these plums. Empress Plums or Italian Plums; my grandparents had a tree in their yard when I was little. Every year, I buy a pint and every year, I think of my grandfather, splitting these plums for us, warm from the sun. He would pick pears, too, and sit with his ever-present paring knife, slicing them and feeding us like baby birds.
The poignancy of this is not lost on me; next week, it will be 13 years since he died. I still miss him, but he returns every September, to remind me of the natural rhythm of the world and the fragility of these last blooms of life.