"The persimmons are ripe and amazing..." she began, telling me of a tree farmer she met at the farmers market that had invited us to see his orchards. On persimmon trees, the leaves fall and the fruit stays on the branches until it is ripe. Birds come and eat the easily reached fruits, hollowing out the pumpkin colored orbs and leaving the skin hanging on it's stem. The bright fruit contrasts with the dark wood of the skeletal tree. It is an amazing sight.
We left early and drove to Newcastle. There we met Ed, a leather handed, gravel-voiced fellow who managed 1,400 acres of trees with his children, whose houses sit scattered about the property like fallen fruit.
We walked amongst the orchards of pear, apple, cherry and chestnut trees, listening to his amazing stories, hearing his take on politics and his end of the world predictions. He tried repeatedly to sell Tessa on the idea that his six year old grandson, Joaquin, would make a great husband for her. He talked without pausing, told stories and jokes, and shared his philosophies of business and integrity. By the time we left, I wanted to try canning peaches again, get my finances in order, read the classic books I have been putting off, and be more generous when I give of my time and means.
It was an amazing day. We saw 25 wild turkeys. I tried my first ripe persimmon, which was heavenly. I learned how to plant a tree so that it will grow astoundingly high in just two years. I learned that to dry persimmons you need to massage them every day. I learned that being rich is to have family near, to learn every day, and to laugh.
We drove home that afternoon with smashed, ripe fruit in the treads of our shoes, and light, peaceful hearts. I felt like I had been given the rare privilege of meeting someone who really understands how to savor life.
Because, really, isn't life delicious?