Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Waiting on Papaws

I’ve been watching a small bunch of papaws ripen this summer. It has been such a joy to observe this growth, in part because a late freeze killed all the fruit on the tree in front of the High Street House last year. But this year, this little cluster keeps ripening toward a day of fullness.
Learning about papaws was part of my initiation into Kentucky. David Wagoner presented me with one a few years ago when I visited his farm. We had spent the morning in the field, and he insisted that we take a hike up into the hills, where trees were reclaiming fields that had been over-grazed by livestock. He disappeared for a bit, and came back with a fruit. I ate this smallish, mango/banana silently, intent on the peel, seeds, pulp. The seeds were large, lusty, improbable. The whole thing impressed me as being far too tropical for Nicholas County, Kentucky. But there we were. I wouldn't soon forget it.
And here we are. I can’t come into this house without passing these ripening shapes. My waiting may not be rewarded. These fruits are not safe from bugs or weather or other threats. But I am hopeful enough to allow these fruits some of my hope. I may not be present when these come to be ready. But I can joyfully anticipate that fullness. Almost like a summer advent. I am happy to wait.

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