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Meyer Lemons

Every year something in the garden flowers and makes more fruit or vegetables than any one human can possibly manage to consume or deal with. Unless you’re a farmer you just watch while things fall on the ground and you feel slightly guilty about it all. You might even, depending on how disorganized you are, find yourself buying the very same fruit at the grocery store as is rotting in your garden. I did this with my plums one year. But this year I have Meyer lemons and I’m determined to gather them up and make marmalade. It feels great to bring them in the house all fresh with life. That sounds odd to me to say it. It’s the feeling a predator must have while closing in on prey, the lion with the gazelle’s neck in it’s mouth. Anyway, they are here, in the kitchen and soon I will cook them down, dark and sweet, to make the richest lemon marmalade ever.

It makes me think of a quandary I’ve had recently, which I realized had something to do with life and death. I’ve moved recently into a new house, new town, and am buried beneath the weight of making my life and my family’s life function again as I want it to, to make sense and be reliable. There is always something to do and always something, many things, I feel I haven’t done. Friends seems to be getting away from me, I’m not keeping in touch and that nags at me. I fall into bed each night aching and exhausted. But the other day the certainty descended on me that at every moment I’m doing the right thing, there’s nothing left to be done, nothing is undone. So that was great, while it lasted. I’m still sure it’s true, but today I was finishing a sad book in bed before getting up, reading helplessly as one of the main characters is getting ready to die, to leave the love of his life, I had that feeling again, of my life getting away from me. And I realized it’s all part of the same thing, there’s a very real and true thing about how things go away, and how we miss them and how no matter how hard we try, the fruit will rot on the ground one day. Maybe that’s part of being in the world and of loving the world.

I still have the thought that in another few months I will be less busy, I’ll have the feeling of having turned back the tide of entropy and will sit in my comfortable chair with only one thing at a time on my mind. But there will be a moment when I can’t hold entropy back anymore, even though I consider that to be one of my areas of expertise. I wonder if it’s even possible to die with bills unpaid and lemons on the ground, but I know it must be. Maybe the taste of Meyer lemon marmalade, bitter and sweet and tart, is somehow about all this.