Zach Dolenar Professor English English 1102 19 September 2012 Ode to a Cherry What’s better to chill out a hot summer’s day than something sweet and cool? No, I am not talking about a Popsicle. I am not talking about an ice cream cone, either. I am not even talking about iced tea or lemonade. It is something better than all of those, and it doesn’t even have all the sneaky calories of those other tasty treats! The answer to the question is simple. Have you guessed it? It is a cherry. Upon first sight, a cherry doesn’t seem special. It is just a small piece of fruit, hardly even worth noticing.
It is not dripping with juice at all, and it doesn’t seem to have the potential to do so. You would probably even pass over it on first glance, thinking that it is nothing special. At a second glance, however, something about it appears more desirable. The skin is pleasantly tight on the surface, promising something to die for underneath, puckering into a round little “O” at the stem. It is cold and hard, but silky at the same time. The color ranges from brightest blood red to deepest dark maroon depending on where you look and what angle you choose to see it from.
The light glances off the skin, leaving the fruit with a delicate, glowing shine making my skin on my palm seem lifeless. It is almost like seeing a miniature version of the apple in the Garden of Eden; no wonder Eve was so attracted to eating it. The stem of the cherry thickens slightly as it approaches the fruit. Perched at the top of this slender stem is a single, small, bright green leaf that seems to be standing at attention. The stem breaks free of its puckered setting easily, ruining the erectness of the leaf.
With a barely audible popping sound, stem and leaf are on their way to the ground, fluttering like a tiny loose sail on some lost sailboat out at sea and sinking like an unattached mast. It hits the ground gently, and is forgotten immediately in anticipation of the first delightful bite. Right before I set the fruit on my tongue, I can smell something earthy and bitter for a moment, but sweet at the same time. Then the smell is gone and my breath forms a delicate fog on the bright young skin, clouding its mirror-like surface repeatedly on each exhale. Once the fruit is safely delivered to my mouth, the appearance oesn’t matter anymore. What does matter is the sensation of the whole fruit sandwiched between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. It is like a little ice cube rolling around over the surface of my tongue, clattering against the inside of my teeth with its icy coldness. I take the first tempting bite. The skin, once stretched tight over the plump ripe fruit beneath, breaks with a tiny pop. My teeth sink slowly into the tender flesh, meeting with little resistance, like a hot knife through butter. The initial tartness of this unobtrusive little fruit is overcome by the sweet juice flooding my mouth.
I can feel the frosty freshness soaking all the way down to my stomach when I swallow. Finally, my teeth hit the stone with a jarring crunch, shocking me out of the paradise in my mouth and jolting me back to reality. But how bad can reality be when all that matters is the cherry I am eating? The second bite is just as good as the first, if not better. The third bite is better than the second, and the fourth better than both of those. The juices seem even sweeter, cascading more thickly through my mouth, and the rough edges of the pit against my teeth doesn’t completely startle me out of my cherry-induced serenity.
When there are no more bites to be taken, I leave the stone in my mouth, sucking out the last of the flavor. Using my tongue as a cradle, I move the pit around in my empty mouth, gleaning more and more of the last of this precious fruit from the stony pit. The sweetness of this petite fruit has far outlasted the flesh itself and seems to be ingrained in the steeply solid crevices of the pit. The rough wooden stone against my tongue reminds me of how tree bark feels under my hand. However, I would venture a guess that this tastes much better than tree bark. In fact, this is one of the best things I have ever tasted.
When all hope of finding some last bit of flesh on the barren wasteland of the pit is lost, I spit the warm, soggy stone back into the palm of my hand just to look at it. The light wood is stained darker than before thanks in part to the purple cherry juices and in another part to the moisture in my mouth. The cracks stand out, black on purplish tan. It is still slightly sticky from the cherry juice. The original fruit was so much more beautiful than what is hiding at the center. I drop the pit, watching as the teardrop shape slides off my fingers and slices through the air.
It hits the ground with a solid cracking noise before it skitters across the concrete and is lost in the grass. Do I have you convinced yet that a cherry is just what you need to lift your spirits on the most melting of summer days? Just a little bit of red in your hand and purple in your mouth is exactly what the doctor ordered. The cherry is not just a cold bit of relief from the biting heat. It is a great way to marvel at nature and see just what you are missing by eating all those processed foods. One bright, plump, happy, cold, little cherry can completely turn your day around. I would know, it has done that for me countless times.