Last night at a party a fascinating gentleman and I got to talking. Among other things, he told me a visit to a Childrens Hospital will make one an atheist, then and there.
The reverse concept occurs to me as I’m at my kitchen sink topping and washing the huge bowl full of strawberries my husband has brought in from our garden: I could become a believer based on this fruit. These berries are amazing. They are almost a pornographic depiction of the word “strawberry”, the word “fruit”. So tender it seems ludicrous they could stand their own weight in the bowl, yet they do. They are each perfect, not a blemish, rounded and shining, glossy. So fragrant it’s almost overpowering, yet one does not tire of them. Biting into one and I do not encounter the wooden stem and the flavorless sadness of the berries that ship to our stores; these melt in my mouth, they redefine the word red with their taste, they dissolve in a joyous surrender to being eaten. They grew just a few steps away from where I’m now washing and cutting them.
My mother will be picking up most of this to begin canning. Everyone is getting a good deal here; I insist I don’t like to garden – but I love the food that comes out of the garden, and I love to cook. My mother similarly loves to prepare food, especially in large batches. The only one that grumbles a bit is Ralph, who gets a workout on his back picking the fruit.
I cut and cut and cut the tops off, honing my ability to save as much as possible of the prized flesh. A selection of perfectly glossly dark red berries go in a bowl for tonight’s dessert (including shortcake made with eggs from our hens, yay!), the rest in a large bag in the fridge, added to the ones frozen previously; “putting food by”, experiencing the earth’s bounty.