Life is a Pretty Sweet Fruit

Posted: July 30, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty. 

My friend Kris is a wonderful man, and not just because he always keeps his promises. He does much more. When the summer heat finally arrived, I asked him to help me install my window A/C unit. He said he was happy to help. In fact, he suggested coming over to get it done the next day. The next morning, he called me asking when I would like him to come over to help. Kris is an extraordinary friend.Image

After he’d assured me that the A/C unit was securely in place in my dining room window, I asked if he wanted to stay for lunch. He cooled down in front of the freezer and fan while waiting for the A/C to cool the room, and I prepared two salads, placing his closest to the now churning A/C unit. I love a good talker, and Kris possesses championship conservation skills. We talked about our plans for the day. We talked about our tendency to be attracted to difficult men. We talked about the books we were reading. We happened on the topic of biometrics, because I had read an article in Smithsonian magazine (a great read www.smithsonianmag.com). He was quick to offer more ideas and examples of biometrics in action. Have I mentioned that he’s smart, too?

Feeling sure I should offer him more than a salad for lunch and eager for our conversation to continue, I remembered I bought cherries at the Farmers Market. I jumped to wash and serve them. We began discussing whether or not life is, in fact, like a bowl of cherries, analyzing the simile in which a bowl of cherries signifies the easy sweetness of life. But a bowl of cherries is not so simple. I suggested that, like cherries, life always includes some sort of unpleasantness, the pits, naturally. Kris added that when people think about cherries, the pits are overlooked, most people are happy enough with the sweetness of the cherries that the pits aren’t even considered, or, once eliminated, they are quickly forgotten. Cherries aren’t always in season, either, signaling the need to accept that the happiness we want cannot be expected to be immediately available. Pleased with our insights, we continued, discussing interpretation more generally.

Then, we began eating the cherries. They were exquisite. We talked about their perfection—the cherries melting on the tongue, the pits just falling away. He observed, “These are the best cherries I’ve had, ever.” I agreed. We ate slowly; I went back into the kitchen to get the rest, dividing them equally between our two bowls.

He asked, “If this lunch we’re having—salads and cherries in a cool room on a hot summer Sunday were in a novel, how would students interpret it?”

A good question to ponder while eating the season’s most perfect cherries.

The variety of accurate interpretations, and the individuality inherent in them, has always intrigued me, which is one of the reasons why I so thoroughly enjoy my work as an English professor. How might this scene between my friend Kris and I be interpreted? A student could begin by noting the balance of opposites—heat and cold, in this case. The interior coolness, the cold salad and washed cherries creating an oasis in the midst of summer heat. Another student might discuss the shared pleasure derived from the fruit, symbolizing perhaps a harmonious relationship between equals. Another could note the post modern tendency to address the multiplicity of possible interpretations. And they’d all be right.

For me, the appeal of analysis rests in the excessive attention given to the small details that comprise life. We must capture the moment, inspect it, and turn it over in our mind like a fine sculpture, noting the nuances, attempting to know what it could mean. Interpretation allows us to linger in moments we wish we could stay in forever.

I went back to the Farmers Market the following Sunday, but the cherries were gone. 

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Comments
  1. Shannon says:

    Great read! You are an excellent writer. I must admit that my favorite part about my literature classes when I was in school was discussing and debating the interpretation of the things we read. So enlightening. My mind is blown at the thought of interpreting simple moments of my life as if it were a book….why didn’t I ever think of that?

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