Sunday, January 08, 2006
Prunis Persica
Man, I love peaches. I can't really overstate it. I love peaches. Actually, no, that's not true; it is always possible to overstate. I could go down the road to describing the (totally fictitious and for the sake of this argument) graphically sexual things I want to do to/with/for peaches. That would certainly be overstating it. While I do love peaches, even I think fruit frottage is a step too far.

Barring any act of physical love, I love peaches. Unless that physical act of love is the eating of peaches. That I will do. And do do as often as is practicable.

I don't know what the lure is exactly. Maybe it's because they're soft and fuzzy on the outside, while squishy and messy with the nectar of life within. It is not unlike what I would imagine it would be to bite into a live squirrel, only less wriggly, less likely to counter-bite, less likely to give me rabies when it does so, and delicious.

Oh peach fuzz, so alluring, so enigmatic, so human-skin-like. Why do you haunt me so? I could get nearly all the same sweet pleasure from eating a nectarine, but without the cannibal-confusing fuzz to complicate the experience. But then who says less complicated is better? Deep down somewhere I must enjoy meaty act of biting through hair-laden flesh, cutting and tearing with the teeth God gave me, incisors--canines--alive, working, sinking, vestigial no more. When I eat a peach I will often howl as the wolf howls, exulting in the primal thrill shared by all carnivores throughout the history of all time, reveling in the same feeling felt when the second primordial thing crawled out of the life-giving ooze at the planet's birth and ate the first thing that had crawled out just before it. And yet without all the complicated questions of ethics and morals and cholesterol because, when you get right down to it, I'd just be eating fruit.

But not just any fruit. A peach.

I don't have to eat them in whole form either. I can eat them endlessly from jars or cans, swimming in a light-golden sea of peach-flavored syrup. I am saving the leftover syrup in bags in my freezer. It is my intention one day, when I have enough, to drop all these bags into a bathtub, let them thaw, and then immerse myself in a peachy syrup bath, naked and hairless as a cling peach wedge so that I might know a little something of what it feels to be a peach. Or at least what it feels to be part of a peach after it has been factory cut, processed and jarred. Do not judge me, I beg you. I only wish to know what it is to be delicious.

Perhaps the allure for me is that peaches come from Georgia, the Deep South, a region steeped in romanticism. I imagine they spend their youths blossoming and blooming and growing on the ends of trees, swaying ever so slowly as they hang there, slightly slick in air thick with Tennessee Williams swelter, humidity and the distant scent of the sea; watched and probed and pollinated by bugs the size of sauce-pans. Either way, I'm sure never to mention the name "Sherman" in the presence of a peach lest it go suddenly bad on me out of pure spite.

It is possible that their southern roots, deep in the Georgia soil, make me comfortable enough to express myself around peaches since I know that, as Southerners, however beautiful or alluring or irresistibly edible they might be, there's a fair chance that I'm smarter than they are. Schools in Georgia being what they are for people, I shudder to think of what they don't do for peaches.

Although I'm pretty sure the peaches we get here are grown in Chile. Most of the same points still apply.

Except perhaps the Tennessee Williams stuff.

No, after all that, I'm pretty sure that my love of peaches stems from the fact that it is so hard to find a good one. They all come rock-hard from the grocery store, flavorless and inedible, 11 1/2 months out of the year. Whatever household tricks applied to "ripening" them are doomed to failure as a peach picked too soon is a peach that will never know its true potential as a cosmic being. It is the fruit equivalent of an Olsen twin.

And when properly ripe, if left too long, they become thumb-print stealing mush, a furry bag of nothing with a useless stone inside. An overripe peach, nature's scrotum, the part of the Body Fructal no one wants anything to do with, and rightly so.

But when you do find that one, in that fickle space between under- and over-ripe, a hot summer day, ice-cold from the refrigerator, with a bite the perfect balance of resistant and giving, asking--begging--to be devoured, savored, surrendered to... And knowing how rare such an experience is make every peach enjoyed a little tiny fuzzy sphere of tragedy, a breath of mostly unrepeatable fulfillment surrounded by a vacuum of disappointment the size of the universe bounded only by time measured in lengths by birth and death.

Pineapples are good too.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.6



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