When I was a senior in high school I studied “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” and I have often thought about why the persona felt it required some sort of courage to eat a peach. Because it’s messy? Did it always give him indigestion? But now I find myself asking the same question as I wonder about my succulent peach’s carbon footprint. I LOVE peaches. The very whiff of a peach brings back happy memories of eating peaches–as many as I wanted–right off the tree in our back yard. Even before that I had happy peach memories. As a fairly small girl I can remember standing on a chair in the basement kitchen helping my mother can peaches. She showed me how to scald them quickly so that the skin just slipped off. Then we could cut them in half and pack them into jars, pour syrup over them, seal the jars, and then process them in boiling water. And months later we could eat those wonderful peaches that we had preserved ourselves for Sunday dinner with waffles. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
But it’s pretty unnatural to be able to eat a ripe fresh peach in the middle of winter. I’ve been reading a little bit about the “locavore” movement, and I’m starting Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and I am fairly certain this peach I have didn’t grow in Indiana or anywhere remotely close.
So how do I know if I’m being a good person anymore? Does eating this peach harm the environment? Twenty years ago or so I said to a friend, “You’re a good person,” and his response was, “But that’s the only thing I have ever really wanted to be.” I’ve remembered that, because I want that, too. But it’s hard to know how to do it sometimes.
True confession: I dared do it. And it was exceptionally good!