The climb up to the gate is steep and slippery. On top of the hill, under a threatening mass of black jack oaks, the front of the house with its screened porch looks down upon a peach tree growing near the fence on the side by the driveway. I can smell the peaches across the grass, their scent rich and ripe, enhanced by a drizzle of warm rain.
Up close, the ripening fruit has turned from a yellow-green to a fuzzy orange and red. The contrast of color reminds me of a favorite painting by Cezanne. The tree branches bend low under the heavy load. I hardly know where to begin. I place my sack on the ground and sit on a rock, allowing the anxious mockingbird to decide that I’m really no threat to its nearby nest. Finally she stops fussing at me and examines me curiously. I reach out a cautious hand and pick my first peach while her bright eyes watch me for signs of danger. Satisfied she flutters out into the grass where an unlucky moth has flitted it last flight from the pale yellow moon flower.
Instead of placing the peach in the sack, I brush off a few spots of dust and sink my teeth into the sweet flesh. Juice dribbles down my chin and onto my glasses hanging around my neck. Pure pleasure. I close my eyes. The rain will wash out the stains on my shirt.