About this time every year, summer begins to collect its belongings and reluctantly makes plans to leave. It is a transitional time of the year, with autumn around the corner waiting patiently to bring cooler weather and shorter days.
I love to see the seasons change but I’m always a little sad to give up the best parts of each one. I don’t mind seeing the oppressive summer heat go, but I will definitely miss our fresh Georgia peaches.
Maybe if we had fresh peaches all year long they wouldn’t be as special. We’ve all heard the saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and this is indeed true with peaches. They make us wait patiently until the summer sun plants a kiss on each one of them before we can enjoy their sweet, juicy taste.
Peaches are born again every spring. They make quite an impressive entrance with beautiful blankets of pink flowers announcing their arrival.
I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of everything pertaining to peaches. Of course, that’s not official, but peaches and I have been friends for many years.
If they could talk, they would certainly tell you about our relationship. It’s a neat paring. I not only love to eat and cook with peaches but I also enjoy translating their beauty into artwork.
I lost count many years ago just how many times I have painted and drawn my colorful, fuzzy and tasty friends. I’ve even created hundreds of faux peaches using Styrofoam, tissue paper and glue.
When you prepare to render the likeness of a peach, you better be ready to collect a myriad of colors. Bright yellows, rich golds, subtle oranges and bold reds are just the beginning of your palette. The number of changes in color on the skin is mind boggling.
You start with a nice yellow and carefully add a touch of gold. You keep adding gold until it reaches a pretty orange color and then mix in hints of red for a little blush here and there. You are not finished until you reach the very place the sun kissed the fruit, leaving a deep crimson red stain.
Just like people, every peach I see is different. Their shadings and markings are unique. They never compare themselves to the peaches sitting next to them or dare boast that their flavor is sweeter. They don’t have to; each of them knows they are all beautiful gems placed on this earth to be enjoyed.
I gave this concept much thought while I spent hours upon hours drawing peaches using colored pencils for my recent art show. Whether they were piled in baskets, mounded into groups or even peeled and sliced, each peach glowed with pride. Even when you peel away their furry coats, they are still beautiful on the inside.
Why do we have to be so judgmental to those around us? Why do we have to compare what we have to our neighbors? Why can’t we be satisfied just to be who we were meant to be?
It can’t be that hard — peaches have perfected it.
Lessons to be learned are all around us and take on many different forms. To learn from nature, we have to pause, look and listen.
Even the different seasons are wonderful teachers. They show us how to gracefully shift from one part of our lives into another, and that no matter what storms we face, we can always be reborn. Pretty good advice, don’t you think?
Excuse me for a minute; I have to have a little talk with summer before it leaves. I want to ask it a favor.
“Summer, before you go away can you please give me a few more peaches to enjoy? It’s going to be a long time before you return!”
It just wouldn’t be summer without a fresh peach.
Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email [email protected]; follow him at instagram.com/markcreates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.