smitten with apricots

The smell of these apricots filled the kitchen this morning.

I love how summer fruits announce their presence through the nose. They are real head-turners: beckoning us to follow our nose toward this sweet, temporal ambrosia. Unfortunately, most commercial grocery stores just can’t carry the delicate ripeness necessary for a truly ripe apricot. When they are tender to the point of bruise-like soft spots is when they are most divine.

I have to admit, I’m a bit of an apricot snob. It’s mainly a result of growing up with an apricot tree in my grandparents’ yard. I learned to judge ripeness when the apricots were tender and squishy, like baby skin – their sweet little freckles smiling from a bowl in the kitchen. I remember going though handfuls of them, spoiling my appetite for dinner. But maybe I was just getting my fill so that later in life when the grocery store produce disappoints I can hold on to that sweet memory. But just this weekend I found some perfect apricots at Diablo Foods and snatched them up. Two of them went into my breakfast (yogurt, blueberries, and pecans) and the rest perfumed my desk as I painted them today.

When I draw or paint something I always come away feeling like I have a more intimate knowledge of the subject. Every curve, color, and spot has been scrutinized. It’s like the difference between reading a poem and memorizing it: once you’ve processed it in your memory new discoveries are possible. Suddenly, you understand this thing in a way that (maybe) no one else has. You almost fall in love with it: noticing the subject and wanting to draw it (the initial attraction), then discovering its deeper complexities (the long-term relationship). Am I over-romanticizing the fruit?

It’s just an apricot, I know.  But after spending a few hours studying and smelling these apricots I feel smitten.

I hope everyone makes room this summer to spend some time with summer fruit. I’m looking forward to many more sensory affairs in the months to come.

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