I went to bed and woke in the middle of the night thinking I heard someone cry, thinking I myself was weeping, and I felt my face and it was dry.
Then I looked at the window and thought: Why, yes, it’s just the rain, the rain, always the rain, and turned over, sadder still, and fumbled about for my dripping sleep and tried to slip it back on.
After weeks of dry weather and only an occasional shower, it was relief to wake to the pattering and dripping, an old familiar friend returned in the dark of night.
Weeping clouds and misty eyes are not always from sadness. They can shed sweet tears, wistful wondrous full-to-the-brim tears.
This is how it was as I slipped a dripping sleep back on, lulled by the rhythm of the drops. This is how it is this morning capturing each one where it landed before it disappears forever.
My face will remain damp with the memory.
And somehow Hallie thrived anyway–the blossom of our family, like one of those miraculous fruit trees that taps into an invisible vein of nurture and bears radiant bushels of plums while the trees around it merely go on living.
~Barbara Kingsolver in Animal Dreams
There is a plum tree on our farm that is so plain and unassuming most of the year that I nearly forget that it is there. It is a bit off by itself away from the other fruit trees; I have to make a point of paying attention to it otherwise it just blends into the scenery.
Despite not being noticed or having any special care, this tree thrives. In the spring it is one of the first to bud out into a cloud of white blossoms with a faint sweet scent. Every summer it is a coin toss whether it will decide to bear fruit or not. Some years–not at all, not a single plum. Other years, like this one, it is positively glowing with plum harvest– each a golden oval with a pink blush. These plums are extraordinarily honey flavored and juicy, a pleasure to eat right off the tree if you don’t mind getting past a bitter skin and an even more bitter pit inside. This is a beauty with a bite. I think the tree secretly grins when it sees puckering taking place all around it.
This tree is a lot like some people I know: most of the time barely noticeable, hanging on the periphery, fairly reserved and unobtrusive. But when roots go deep and the nourishment is substantial, they bear fruit, no doing things half-way. The feast is plentiful and abundant, the meal glorious despite the hint of sour. Maybe it is even more glorious because of the hint of sour.
If “tucker” describes a great down-home meal, then being “plum tuckered” sounds positively wonderful.
But I suspect plum tuckered is really about what happens after picking and preserving hundreds of these radiant gems.
It’s time for bed. I’m both kinds of plum tuckered.
Who needs the icebox
when the plums
simply hang heavy
in the orchard
dotted with dew
in the spare pink light
and so ready
their golden flesh
warming in the sun.
This is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold