Do you remember the best peach you ever had? I do, and it was fantastic.
Of course, we’re on the cusp of February, and right now peaches are nowhere to be found, despite my longings for them. It’s been alternately gray or drizzly for days (though, yes, the sun peeked out for a bit yesterday), and getting up in the mornings has proved even more difficult than usual because I know it’s going to be chilly when I walk to the bus — and I donwanna!
So as I often do when I’m wistful for spring — and summer — this morning I’ve been thinking about warm sun and fruit and all the delicious things that go along with the non-winter time. And that includes peaches. And flowers.
[Spring flowers near Fort Ross, May 2007.]
So: my perfect peach.
It was a very cold day in July, as July days in Northern California can be, and we’d taken a visiting friend out to Goat Rock Beach high up the Sonoma County coastline (an aside: I haven’t seen her in years, but I had the best summer adventures with this girl; she was the daughter of my dad’s best friend from college, in San Francisco from England for the summer, and from the moment we met we just hit it off in the way you do with some of those perfect friendships.). The photos we took show the wind whipping the hair around into our faces; we were all bundled up because it was freezing (note: in July). I’d brought my dog, of course, and we ran up and down the sand until he finally lost interest in chasing sticks and tired out enough to sleep the whole way home.
Back then, my brother worked at the Sebastopol Whole Foods (or was it still Food for Thought?), and so we decided to go through town to visit him during his shift. We chatted with him in the produce section — probably annoying the other patrons with our giggly college selves — and then on our way out my mom bought us each a peach.
Oh, that peach.
I’m not even kidding when I say it was that good because here it is nearly ten years later and I still remember it. Organic, exorbitantly priced, and enormous, it stole my heart at first bite. It was so juicy, so sweet and perfectly ripe that I’ve spent every summer since seeking its equal. During my search, I’ve discovered that I prefer white peaches for nibbling-on, though for baking they’re a bit too sweet and so instead I use yellow. I’ve learned I like my peaches a little firm, but not too; if the juice ends up all over my hands and toes, I consider it a small price to pay. Um, how long ’til summer?
I’d dearly love a peach today. The sky threatens rain yet again, and it’s only Thursday; I’m tired of eating oranges and kiwis and bananas as my main fruit components. I’m also tired of soup! I’m tired of counting the days until daylight savings time begins! I’m tired of planning July trips to the Mediterranean because that’s so long from now! I’m tired of tomatoes not being in season! I’m tired of all the gray!
Rather than focus on what I don’t have, though, I’ll try to comfort myself with knowing a wait makes things that much sweeter — whether they are peaches, or summer flowers, or a sunny day.
Just a few more months …