Always Real, Reruns and Leftovers, Sometimes Tart

Cherries – Or Life Is But A Dream

Cherries are in season.  Cherries as gorgeous and red and decadent and as seductive as any apple in Eden there ever was. I saw them at the store and brought them home. I rinsed them under the cool water of the tap and then without even bothering to turn on the lights, I sat down alone in my kitchen and ate them one by one. 

It was May of 1991. I was 31-years-old. My first husband and I, along with another couple, were in Europe. When you decide to take a two-week car trip with another couple, you know it will either go very well or very badly. The stars were aligned. The four of us spent two carefree weeks tooling around Paris, Aosta, Milan, Montreaux, Florence, Nice and Monaco having the time of our lives. We went to all the famous museums, walked along the shore of Lac Leman, stayed in a castle and sunbathed in Monaco. Things happened on that trip that are hysterical to us, but would be puzzling to others in the retelling.

Towards the end of the trip, as we were making our way back to Paris, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand in the French countryside. We impulsively purchased a bag of cherries – lovely, juicy, plump, fresh French cherries.

As the four of us sat under the shade of an ancient tree eating cherries and spitting the pits, my senses were unusually electrified. Every sensation was magnified. Perspiration, perfume and car exhaust riding the currents of the morning breeze, the blue of the sky and the blood red of the cherries, the gravelly French accent of the vendor, the laughter and chatter of our group, the humming of the nearby traffic. All of these sensations combined into a crystallizing moment in time and lodged into the cool deep of memory.

I remember being acutely aware of the moment, as though somehow outside of myself. I remember thinking that I always wanted to feel as intensely alive as I did in that moment. In fact and detail, eating cherries on the side of the road is an insignificant event but it represented one of those rare moments in life when all seems well with the world. I thought it would be like that forever, the four of us.

Three years later, my first husband died very suddenly. Soon thereafter, our friends divorced after more than twenty years of marriage. The photos of Provence are boxed up and stashed away. The memories have been swept up and put away as well.

Nothing more remains of that one morning in May but the sensation of cherries.

This post was originally published June 12, 2006.

30 thoughts on “Cherries – Or Life Is But A Dream

  1. Wow, what a beautifully powerful image of not only cherries, but a snippet of life left to cherish. My husband and I bought a bag of Ranier cherries in Montana during a two month trip across the West. Sometimes I see these two-toned berries in the grocery store in Pittsburgh, but they’re never as good. This is my first visit. I’ll be back!


  2. A remembered sensation can be more poignant than a photo … and just for a second you can relive that sensation again …a private memory only you can feel.

  3. I have been enjoying your blog for sometime now. Thanks for the insight and a fresh look at life. Blessings to you.

  4. I don’t even need to see a real picture of that day in order to imagine what it looked like. Your words are incredibly descriptive. How very poignant.

  5. I have been reading you for a short while. I had no idea your first husband passed away. My husband passed away unexpectedly four yrs ago. He was 37 and I was 30. Our girls were 5 and 18 months.

  6. Wow. That was beautiful, rich writing. I can taste the cherries as I sit here. What a vivid reminder to savor the moment.

  7. This post is how I found you, and while I’ve been entertained, touched, awed, inspired, moved, totally uncomfortable from uncontrollably laughing over the last 10 months—this post remains my favorite.
    I’m glad you are blogging.

  8. Wow. You write so beautifully, AM.

    I try to do that often with everyday, simple moments–just burn them onto my brain. I think it’s some kind of lame attempt to almost stop time in its tracks… but it’s also a conscious effort to enjoy the little things that we would otherwise take for granted. You never know when that moment, or those people, will never be a part of your life again.

  9. This post demonstrates just how quickly things can change. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your first husband. I have not been reading your blog for very long and didn’t see this post the first time around.

  10. I will always think of this when I eat cherries now! Thank-You for sharing little snippets of your life with us

  11. Bossy has never associated anything very happy or very sad with a cherry because she eats those tasteless plastic-like versions of cherries available in large supermarket chains.

  12. I think this post is perfect for today. It’s about life, love and the pursuit of what God has allowed us here today. I think I’ll go give the man an extra squeeze today.

  13. Thank goodness you posted. I was having AM withdrawals.

    How beautiful. I was able to escape for a moment from the busy day. Sweet memories. I’m glad you have them.

  14. I loved this when you first wrote it. I love it still–though I can’t read it today–too many feelings milling about.

    But I still love it.

  15. I loved it the first time I read it, and I love it again now. Thanks for reminding us how life is about today-today-today and nothing more than today. Enjoy it!

  16. This is such a beautiful bittersweet post! I remember reading it the first time you posted it, and it really tugged my heart. Thank you for posting it again! I think it is one of my favourite posts of all time!

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