Ode to the Miraculous Melon

And then there’s this: at the very end of Vermont’s summer months — August 27th, a day of jumbled work and bruised adult egos, a day of existential pondering, after a moonlit night when I consider my very genuine failings as a parent to my oldest child, a day of humidity that ends with my daughters sitting on the bank of the pond while I swim with my friend, in all that cool water, its glassine surface broken in circular ripples with biting fish, and I long to keep swimming, swimming, we drive the 30 seconds home with a garden-grown cantaloupe cradled in my hands.

The melon had already split at its oblong end, vaguely skull- and exposed-brain-esque. As I carry the melon into the kitchen, the girls eye it skeptically. Already, that cracked end is clustered with fruit flies — where did they come from? — and I brush them away quickly with my hand and open the melon with a cleaver. The orange flesh bleeds juice.

With the cleaver, I slice off irregular squares, and then I’m eating it — famished not for the fruit, not for the sugar, not for the sticky liquid — but for the sheer miracle of a hard-shelled seed turned into such sweetness from soil and rain and sunlight, for all that this summer has been — both amazing beauty and clustering flies and ugliness of split rinds and quickly — hush, wait, yes — how just momentarily — we’ll all disintegrate back into that dust.

But not yet. Not this evening, with its creamy, rising nearly-full moon, two girls and two cats, a handful of chickens, and the crickets all night long, their songs still soldiering solidly.

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

8 comments

  1. “But not yet. Not this evening, with its creamy, rising nearly-full moon, two girls and two cats, a handful of chickens, and the crickets all night long, their songs still soldiering solidly.” — Brilliant, my friend. Sounds like a good description of you!

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