This past weekend we got an unexpected visit from out-of-town friends. Their family was passing through town and stopped at our house for a couple of days. To entertain the kids, we walked to the neighborhood park. As we were getting ready to head home for lunch, my daughter noticed a single red cherry laying on the ground in front of her. She looked up and realized we were standing under a huge old cherry tree, laden with perfectly ripe cherries!
The kids (and dads) all scampered up the tree and started picking cherries, tucking them in pockets and the folds of their shirts. We even turned a frisbee into a plate. My other daughter (who always carries a book with her, even to the park, because you just never know) emptied out her book bag and we started filling it with cherries. Pretty soon every stomach, bag and pocket was full, so we had to give up on all the other cherries on the tree.
Walking away from that bounty of summer fruit proved difficult and we talked of coming back the next day with bigger bags. But of course the next day our friends had to leave, the parents had to go back to work, and life simply continued as normal. I’m sure if we go back next weekend, the fruit will be picked over by the birds or overripe and falling from the tree. It was a moment of perfect timing, a completely unexpected blessing.
But the cherries lasted a few days in a bowl on our kitchen counter, reminding me of sweet time with friends, of the beautiful beginning of summer, and of the fleeting moment of childhood when climbing a cherry tree in the park is the most important work of the day.
Happy Summer, friends! May you always have time to notice an errant cherry on the ground in front of you.