Rather like the ravenous, darting wasps who seemingly cannot get enough of the windfall apples in the orchard we look out on, I’m a self-confessed fruitaholic who revels in the wider choice and bounty that summer brings to us.
But the best way to appreciate fresh fruit is to either grow your own—says she, happily munching on yummy home-grown greengages from her son’s garden—or to pick your own (pyo) fresh from the field, like I used to do as a girl.
Though I furtively ate a fair share, fruit picking was done mostly in pursuit of extra money in my pocket, to savour the sun and fresh air, and to helpfully keep out of my parent’s way during the long summer holiday. Here’s a glimpse of that experience… 🍓🍒🍐🍏
Fruit picking I bend to the task before me with inky-blue stained fingers cradling soft, squishy currants with increasing expertise. My mahogany neck is a fragile stem, crisped by sun’s fierce heat, with my hair bleaching blonder by the day. Summer was mostly lived outdoors. My sister and I could disappear for hours and venture further from home’s confines. It was a needful breathing space in the school year, where being yourself was easier to bear. Stretching like a lazy cat warming herself, I smile at the heavy weight of fruit sat down by my feet. A good crop means more money in my pocket, and enough for the full bus fare home, at least. Despite the exertion, it beats potato or strawberry picking because here I can stand up to reach the glistening crop. Wiping beads of sweat from my forehead, I notice how grubby my white gypsy top looks, smeared with grime and smatterings of juice. Soon I spot someone glaring in my direction as the line checkers move our way. They don't like unaccompanied children, unless they see you working, filling baskets instead of bellies. I dutifully bow my head back to the bushes, knowing that when I close my eyes tonight I will see a vast spread of blackcurrants, hanging like dark lanterns on my closed eyelids. © joylenton
What childhood summer memories linger in your mind? Can you still savour the sight, sound, taste or smell of them? Do share in the comments below. Xx 🙂 ❤
PS: This poem was created by adapting an excerpt of a post previously shared on my Words of Joy blog and the ACW More Than Writers blog.