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  • Cherries – Or Life Is But A Dream

    April 18, 2007

    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.


    1. Kathy says:

      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!


      April 18th, 2007 at 7:52 am

    2. bonniebeth says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 8:02 am

    3. Yvonne says:

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

      April 18th, 2007 at 9:18 am

    4. wordgirl says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 9:51 am

    5. Tonya says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 9:54 am

    6. Heth says:

      What a simple yet powerful post. A wonderful reminder to cherish every moment.

      April 18th, 2007 at 10:20 am

    7. ZOOM says:

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

      April 18th, 2007 at 10:48 am

    8. Angela says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    9. Susan says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:00 am

    10. Tina says:

      A lovely, lovely post that hits my heart today!

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:15 am

    11. Sally says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    12. Mary says:

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

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:31 am

    13. BOSSY says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:39 am

    14. Snapshot says:

      You inspire with your writing. Thanks for sharing this story….and all the others too.

      April 18th, 2007 at 11:40 am

    15. kelli says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    16. Sarah says:

      Beautiful writing…thank you.

      April 18th, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    17. Net says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    18. Frigga says:

      I really enjoy your writing. Is it okay if I put your link in my blog?

      April 18th, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    19. Marie says:

      We never know what twists and turns life has in store for us, that’s for sure. Carpe diem.

      April 18th, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    20. Beck says:

      Beautiful, haunting post.

      April 18th, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    21. fully operational battle station says:

      But I wanted to hear more! Just as I got sucked in and enamored with the story, it BOOM ended just like that. Like a tease.

      It seems like there was more. You should keep going…


      April 18th, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    22. mcewen says:

      The tiniest things can be so evocative.

      April 18th, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    23. Anjali Enjeti-Sydow says:

      Quite literally, a taste of life.

      Beautiful post.

      April 18th, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    24. Roxanne says:

      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.

      April 18th, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    25. pogonip says:

      Mmmmm. Merci beaucoup for taking me away from our snow flurries and into the Parisian countryside for a few wonderful moments.

      April 18th, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    26. Carola says:

      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!

      April 18th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    27. Robin says:

      You are a very gifted writer. Thank you for reminding me that “we have this moment today”.

      April 19th, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    28. Tammy says:

      Wow. I think this story will stay with me forever…what a touching reminder to savor moments, which are His gifts to us.

      April 20th, 2007 at 12:29 am

    29. GiBee says:

      That was beautiful, AM!

      April 20th, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    30. Linda says:

      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!

      April 26th, 2007 at 10:28 pm

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