Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Weeks of Cherries

For an entire week our mornings and evenings were filled with the chink, chink, chink of cherry pits.

Two cherry pies, cherry danishes, and quart bags of pitted cherries are in the freezer.  

Jars of apple cherry jam are on the shelf.

Once a year we drive up to Finley Point to pick cherries in the summer sun and then jump into the clear  cold water of Flathead lake.  

The silver fruit picking ladder gets warm  in the sun and is almost to hot  to touch against my skin as we move from one tree to the next. The sticky, sweet, dark red juice runs down my fingers as I fill the same basket over and over, carrying it up and down the ladder, and we fill the cardboard boxes we brought along. The kids pick cherries for a while, and then get distracted and sprawl on blankets, eating lunch and running through a sprinkler the owner’s of the orchard left on.

Between my feet and the ground, between where I stand on the ladder and where the children play, between here and now and an America I have never known, there hangs a shimmer of memory that is not my own. Around the edges of everything there is a halo that might just be something akin to descriptions by John Steinbeck or stories gathered and relayed by Studs Terkle.  There might have been a time before corn rolled over fence rows, in which some people followed the harvests, knocked on doors, traded chores for buckets of milk, and slept in stranger’s barns and haystacks.  It is a thought neither fact nor fiction.

We have cherry pie for dessert and cherry pie for breakfast.

These are a few of the fleeting weeks of summer.

There is still a large shallow box in the fridge with stemmed, firm, dark red cherries.

Handful, by handful content shrinks, but it is not yet gone.

Past Year's Cherry Recipes.