Peaches let their fragrance hang heavy in the air. At farmer’s markets they are the hardest working fruit, selling themselves with an unrelenting force. Hard work like that is a habit. It’s like good manners, difficult to cultivate and easy to forget. Sometimes my life gets so shaken I wake up and realize I’m thrown off kilter. If you know me, you know I make lists, and lists of lists. You know I plan where I am going and how I am going to get there. I outline my habits. I check them off each day. And so, this “shaken up, off kilter” step from my pre-planned path is infrequent. Normally I schedule it: naptime, reading time, and playtime – each have their calendar slots among client meetings, research, and writing practice.
When I realize I’ve strayed, I tend to feel guilty. It’s like finding an over ripe peach sitting on the kitchen counter. But sometimes the guilt is more like realizing it has only been two days and the entire Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie is gone. Then it’s more of a, “Yeah, I have to fit in extra workout time.” After all, how can I feel that guilty about Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie? Am I really going to give it up entirely?
A few weeks ago, I met a man. I didn’t really meet him. It’s more I reconnected. You see, we met when we still had cooties, when he had a head of curly blond hair so full it looked like a halo, and I thought coloring mine with a red crayon was a surefire way to be a redhead. Yeah, we met in the days of Foursquare, Double Dutch, and Hot Lava Monster games. We met in kindergarten.
And so, for the past few weeks I spent nights trying new sushi rolls, discovering some people cut their onions in very strange ways, and learning “flowers because it’s Tuesday” isn’t a myth. There were days driving anywhere and everywhere because it was sunny and there was music and we were singing. There were afternoons I quit working early to play basketball. And mid-days I took extra naps because it was cold and raining and I liked the warmth of my human furnace.
These last weeks were hazy. Things and jobs and goals melted beyond me. I worried if I woke up it’d be to a sinking guilt. I worried I would land back in the real world, where I was not only strong enough on my own – I was stronger.
But the strangest thing is, waking up wasn’t like that. My goals and my dreams were as vivid as they were before that first kiss leaning into his car, when he jolted with surprise before pulling me in and kissing me deeper. My lists upon lists are back in full force. Instead of him fading, as many men can do, need to do, have done in a list focused life, I’ve discovered calendar lunch dates make me giddy and the Puget Sound Business Journal is more interesting when read nestled in the crook of a shoulder.
My hard earned habits are not gone, though I was in need of a wake-up call. But, I’ve hunkered down. I brew more coffee. I am making lists. Do I regret the last few weeks? No, because did you know oranges taste better when they are peeled for you? And the smell of a brown paper bag filled with peaches is like a gentle kiss?
Perhaps this is hard work’s reward. I can certainly handle peaches at the end of a long day – lots of them, sweetened with the patience of waiting.
Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Reduction
Peaches are just now coming into season and so they still have a slight tartness to their finish. Grilling them brings out more of their natural sugar. With the addition of a balsamic reduction, they are like having dessert, even when you eat them with dinner.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBS sugar
1 dash of salt
2 peaches, cut in half and pitted
In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Add sugar and salt, whisking until they’ve fully dissolved. Continue simmering, whisking occasionally, until liquid has reduced by half and become thick and syrupy.
Note: It will remind you a lot of chocolate sauce.
Grill peaches using medium, indirect heat for roughly two minutes each side. You want peaches to be tender, but not mushy.
Serve warm, drizzled with balsamic reduction.
Note: Best served on one plate.