My table is piled high with fresh, free fruit today. Bruised drops, mostly (the sweetest -- they always drop when perfectly ripe), but also some bike-path blackberries. It seems the city is a good place to scavenge. Not from yards, of course, but what's a girl to do when she takes a wrong turn on her bike and stumbles across a dead-end street positively rolling with pears? She finds the nicest ones and takes a bite out of each, and then gathers up the rest to soften on her counter. And when she finds a heavy-laden plum tree behind a factory? Tosses the ripest over the fence to a worker, who catches it neatly. And at the apple tree where the worms have already found the sweetest apples? She learns to share with a closer neighbor.
Somewhere, off in a plain white church, my aunts sing in a throaty alto almost overwhelming my cousins' soprano, uncles booming bass like the limestone foundations of my old farmhouse, "For the blessings of the field,/ For the stores the gardens yield...."
It's canning season, and where is my root cellar now?