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.