“Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?”
-T.S. Elliott, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
There was a time, when I first read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, that I interpreted that line to show just how indecisive and insecure J. Alfred was. And it’s true, a man who over analyzes where to part his hair has some intense insecurity issues. But I’ve come to rethink the trivialness of the second question.
Eating a peach – a good peach, mind you – is definitely not for the feint of heart.
For some reason that I can’t explain, strawberries have a reputation as being somewhat of an aphrodisiac. Apples are often depicted as the fruit of temptation, despite the fact that the Bible never names the fruit that got Eve to commit the first sin. But peaches, if you ask me, are way more powerful than either of those.
I love fruit – strawberries, apples, pears, oranges, blueberries, watermelon … I could go on and on. I’m a true Okanagan girl, weaned on the stuff. But I don’t know if there’s another fruit out there that can actually make my eyes roll back in my head when I take a bite out of it.
Sweet. Juicy. Raw. Emotional. I have to focus on the moment when I eat a peach – I can’t do it absent-mindedly.
And, unlike some people who must eat this fruit all civilized, cut from the stone, with the skin removed, I enjoy it best intact (with the fuzz rubbed away under water), letting my teeth launch their way through peel and flesh, juice coursing its way down my arms. J. Alfred wouldn’t know what hit him.
“Nature’s candy in my hand or can or pie,” say the Presidents of the USA (the band, of course, not the actual presidents – although they might agree).
So I now have 60 lbs of peaches (although the first 20 is almost gone so I don’t know if it counts). That’s not actually that much for people who can or preserve fruit. But these peaches will never see the inside of a Mason jar. And of the first 20 lbs that’s been decimated, I’ve gorged on well over half on my own. I think about making cobblers and crisps and smoothies or adding ice cream or cream, but they just taste so amazing all on their own that I can’t bring myself to alter them.
And so, the question hits me again … do I dare to eat a peach?
I think for a minute, and then decide, okay, maybe just one. Or should we make that two?
– Words and photo by Lori-Anne Poirier