Hope from Peaches
By Nita Gilger
Poetry is how I started my day. I have been reading poems of hope and gathering strength. I fancy those are qualities worth thirsting for on any given day. As the Parker County Texas peaches are working their way toward the farmers' market stands in the upcoming months, my mouth is watering for such taste and joy. I share this poem of hope with you today:
by Li-Young Lee
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wind to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
I am captivated by the words of the 3rd stanza. O, to take what we love inside ---even and especially with the shade. To be willing to eat the dusty skin and be in the shade but still find the sugar and jubilance of the peach inside ourselves is good advice.
Life is always full of paradox and challenge. I heard someone say that during this time of pandemic we are all in the same storm but not necessarily the same boat. What I am facing in my days is very different from others who are facing far greater needs in every way. As we go through this storm individually and collectively, how can we carry an orchard within ourselves? It is not easy--especially for some who are on the front lines or those who are in more impoverished situations. I take hope in the good I see: thousands of people helping others with food drives, clothing drives, meals for homeless shelters, virtual sing-a-longs, creative on-line classes from amazing teachers, providers of essential services with health care and food. So many people are doing acts of kindness and care. That gives me hope. I see impossible blossoms all around. I look into my heart to search for a peach of hope this morning. I look into my heart to move from wind to wing; from shade to sunshine; from despair to hope.
Every summer, my family would go over to Fredericksburg from San Marcos, TX and we would load up on those gorgeous, juicy hill country peaches. Then would come the task of freezing and preserving bushels of peaches to have all year long. The ice cream churn would appear and fresh, homemade ice cream would be turned out after a long time of turning the handle and icing the bucket down with rock salt. We had to put a big towel over the top and one of us would sit on top of the churn and towel while another turned the handle round and round. I still remember the smells and sounds like it was yesterday. It was well worth the effort. It was a family affair. And when the storms of winter arrived, we could still go to our freezer and pull out a bag of fresh peaches to make the days brighter. We had stocked up for the hard days with peaches of hope.
Prayer: Lord of the blossoms and Lord of the shade, have mercy upon us as we row our boats in this storm. Help us to find ways to carry an orchard within ourselves in such a way that it spills out to give all those around us a sense of hope from blossom to blossom to impossible blossom. Amen.