Inspiring health and happiness in body, mind and spirit

Sweet As...

August 12, 2008
The baby squeals with delight, banging his hands on the table and bouncing so frantically I worry he may tip over his high chair. Big brother sits next to him, sticky nectar drooling down his chin, begging yet again, “I want another peach.”

I stand over the sink, stealing slippery bites, gasping with each sublime slurp.
“Better than candy, my boys,” I sing, “These are better than candy.”

I pick up another and wonder whether a family can have just peaches for supper. I survey our inventory, wondering whether we’ll still have enough to make peach crisp tomorrow.

My older son shouts that we really need to go back to fruit stand and claim another basket before they disappear. And here goes the baby again, shrieking for more, more, more peaches. I continue slicing and serving, the boys continue eating as if they’ve never eaten before.

Liquid summer slips down our faces and our fingers. We are hot and sticky and full of happiness. We have slipped into some otherworldly, peachy frenzy.

Suddenly I am struck by this moment’s sweet perfection, and the world stops spinning for just a heartbeat or two.

“Sweet as a peach,” I think. Whoever coined that phrase must have enjoyed a moment just like this.
And then I am sideswiped by the painful realization that these perfectly blissful moments are so fleeting. And this realization of life’s impermanence nearly knocks the wind right out of me.

This peach in my hands is in its perfect ripe moment, yet it is slipping away even as it peaks. A moment when summer seems to have ripened into such perfection won’t come around again - if we’re lucky - for another year at least. And this very moment will never, in fact, come around again, ever.

SWEET PERFECTION
Just like our day, I think, which passed in just the same sweet and fleeting perfection as the peaches before us. With warm muffins for breakfast bursting with raspberries just off the bush. With nothing more important to do than paint pictures and swing in the backyard and then launch colorful rockets high into the sky. A day dappled with chubby smiles and silly shrieks, and an ease and harmony that can only settle in when summer has already peaked and is beginning to lean toward autumn.

How many hours will we wander through before we stumble upon anther moment as perfect as this? I am lovestruck by the fullness of this world around me, in this very moment in this bountiful August day. And then I am pierced straight through by the knowledge that it will never be just like this again.

"This, too, shall pass," as the Buddhists always remind us. Nothing lasts forever.
I’m not quite sure what to do with this realization. Do I surrender to despair? Tighten my grip on life’s reins in the hope that I can somehow halt time in its tracks? Pray to some god, any god, for more? Or simply open my heart fully to these blessings when they tumble down upon us, like raindrops falling from the sky?

Such musing and such melancholy, I decide, can wait for another day. I slip my teeth into another full moon of a peach and surrender completely to its frenzy. This summer moment, fleeting and impermanent, tastes so good and so right.

I lick my sticky fingers, pick up another bowl of peaches and head over to my little boys, who right this moment are so beautiful and so ripe. I settle down next to these beloved beings as they sing and squeal with delight. They reach their little fingers into the bowl in one last summer frenzy. Just now, in this astonishingly singular moment, my children are just as sticky and juicy and as sweet as a you know what.