The fresh prunes in my garden are just starting to ripen. I love these little fruits. They’re small and easy to eat. Sweet but not too juicy, so I don’t need to worry about sugary liquid dripping down my arm or on my shirt. I love how the pit is easy to remove, no struggling with a knife or bruising the fruit flesh trying to remove it. I love the deep, deep purple of the ripe fruit’s skin and the nice color contrast with the green leaves of the tree. A pretty fruit. A fruit of comfort, with comfy memories.
When I was growing up, the only people I knew who had a prune tree were my uncle and auntie, who lived outside of Seattle. We’d go and visit them and Uncle would always insist on cooking a huge meal for us, no matter the length of our stay, even if we were just stopping by to say hello. In the summer we’d be told to “go check the prune tree.” A large grocery bag or cardboard box would be thrust at us–encouraging us to take as many as we’d like. That was Uncle and Auntie’s way: generous and kind. I remember as a child how I delighted in reaching up and plucking the ripe prune fruit from the tree, that deep purple and the white shadowy surface that could be washed or wiped away before eating.
“I love these fruits,” I remember telling Uncle, who’d come out in his velour what we’d now call a track suit, his steps strong and steady despite his great age. “Ha, ha, ha,” Uncle’s throaty, happy laugh sang out, as he delighted in my joyful harvest.
Fresh prunes. Such a simple and humble fruit. But sweet and easy to enjoy. I pause and look up to the top of my prune tree and the blue, blue sky above. “Ha, ha, ha,” I think I hear Uncle’s joyous laugh from the spirit world. His laugh is just like him: simple, humble, sweet.
Harvest time is always a sacred time. And today, with Uncle’s spirit watching over, it is especially so.