Monday, March 28, 2011

Just Peachy

Ever have someone utter a single phrase that grabs you by the arm and hauls you to a particular moment in time? Suddenly you find yourself straddling that chasm between now and then, thinking, "Oh shit, oh dear. I thought I'd safely shelved this particular moment."

That happened to me the other day. My dear friend Jacob made the comment, "I've come to just treasure the experience of life...all of all its raw, windswept, sunrise-laden, barefoot shit and splendor ... like slicing your tongue on the razor hidden inside the juicy peach." (By the way, Jacob writes here.)

I know that razor-laden juicy peach all too well. As soon as I read that line, I was back in October 2006. I was working at my accounting job, head buried in paper work. My boss walked in and said, "Hey, did you know that John's out in the parking lot?" "No," I said, thinking that maybe he was there to take me to dinner after work. "But what a nice surprise!" I took off my phone headset, set down my pen, and wandered out to the parking lot. I walked up to the driver's side of the truck, smiling as I approached. My smile did a back flip as soon as I saw John's face. I tasted peaches and blood as I heard him say with emotionally charged flatness, "Cancer. I'm so sorry, Baby."

Amazing how one sentence, both then and now, can suddenly leave me awash in tears.

Fucking spinning dime, this life.

And, the good news: it always spins back around again. If you can hold on through the whirl, it'll come back to good. At least for a while.

The current peach is juicy and sweet and void of any tell-tale metallic or coppery taste. I'm savoring it for all it's worth, because I know - not in a doomsday way, but in a this-is-how-life-is way - I know that eventually I'll be blinking again and trying to spit out some nasty surprise in hopes of just making it go away.

When the dime, circa October 2006, spun back around to good again, nearly three years had gone by. It was July 2009, a hot summer day. The sun had come up with such elegant beauty that I felt a loss at having no one to share it with. I thought, "Geez, but it would be nice to sit here on the deck, sipping bean, holding someone's hand and saying, 'Ain't that pretty?'" So I posted a simple personal ad that said something like, "Sure is a pretty day, I'd love to find someone to share the beauty." And this guy Steve responded to the ad almost immediately, sending a picture of my mountain, aglow in... huh... peachy colors... as the sun came up behind it, and as if he was answering my original thought, wrote, "It sure is." So it began. In an instant, the dime had swung back around.

And it continues to spin. This is my fearful knowledge.

Those two sides of the coin are so clear in my mind. Without one, there could not be the other.

So, like Jacob, I continue to rest on the oh, so eloquent words of Rilke*: "Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."

Enjoy the peach while you can. Enjoy the hell out of it.

*Rainier Maria Rilke, Love Poems to God


  1. Barb

    i am delighted to do a collaborative weave with a fellow word-wrestler like you. thank you for this gift of yours...this story which illustrates so powerfully what i felt when the "razored peach" thing surfaced.

  2. That made my heart ache, and my stomach. You hit too close to home some days. Don't stop.


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