As I strolled around the lake, I came upon a persimmon tree all weighted down with waxy, scarlet fruit. The just ripening persimmons clung to their stems. The ground beneath the limbs was still clean; any fallen fruit had been gathered by the deer that too freely roam the property. Each brilliant, slightly firm persimmon fruit was unbearably beautiful.
I picked one of the autumnal attired apricots and broke open its skin. Seeds, dark and woody, guarded by a filmy shield, stood out against the plum-like flesh.
My children wanted to take the seeds home, dry them and plant them. I thought of our merciless soil. I knew no persimmon could abide that soil. But, I humored their request and washed and wrapped a few for ferrying home.
When we were not too far down the road, my mother called, we had forsaken our seeds, left them on the countertop. The kids gave no redress to my suggestion that Mama keep them, drying, until we returned in November. I drove on, still thinking about the persimmons.
There are no Persimmon in my new world. No acrid Quince, no wormy Apple, no Pear – not that produce anything edible, no messy Cherry, no bee attracting Fig, no switch producing Peach, heck, no Redbud – the kids asked me about their strange seed-pods which we once dispersed like the other animals as we played. None of those are my neighbors.
I miss my home: the bulbs that return every year, it’s nearly time to split and replant them, that would be my job ’bout now. I miss the the zinias and roses that are faithfully laying down. I pain for the Verbena and Ageratum standing strong for the butterflies last fill-up, for all the flowering things shining their last shine, frost is coming soon enough. I miss my shrubs, now nearly trees: Elsie’s Snowball and Wild Azalea that Daddy dug from the woods at the lake, Motnie’s Camelias which I brought back in buckets and Nana’s Sweetheart Rose, now big as a Volkwagon bug. I miss our Magnolia and my Pecan and the once Christmas Cedar, the good for climbing White Pine, the lookout post Redbud and our popsicle eating perch, the Dogwood.
I forget how very rich …until I return and remember. And my heart laments what I have left…
As we marched round the water, our one quick time, we wove through towering willows I once bounced and flipped beneath, swinging up my legs and pulling hard against fist fulls of the willow’s long shaggy locks. And as we grew silent, our circuit nearly over, we heard the hushed crunching of leaves which lay on layer after layer of long fallen friends.
It gets harder and harder to leave.
The persimmons probably started letting go today.
I don’t think I ever will.