Sailing down the hill this morning, biking toward town just behind your young son, you realize you've not only come without breakfast. But also without water.
But not to worry. This is gleaning season.
Say, you actually do, nominally, belong to a group called The Gleaners' Group - which group seems to have, sadly, though with melancholy aptness, died on the vine . . . The vision behind that group was a more thrifty and thorough sort of gleaning than what you do today (and really, what you do everyday you are out on the bike, or walking, during gleaning season).
And yes, there is a wormhole and the center has turned brown. You bite around it. And when you've eaten as much as you care to, you toss the core into tall grass in the ditch by where the sunflowers grew this summer. Right ahead, where the road curves (around that corner by the old farmhouse, where the new development is going in?) there's another apple tree.
And later, when the day has warmed again and the sun has passed its noon and your gloves are tucked back into your bag, you repeat the process in reverse. Tart and juicy - like what you imagine a dry vermouth might be, as you climb back up from rivertown toward fairgrounds.
Then, turning the corner and gliding back down that long, slow decline toward your own road, Definitely anise. And something like the first whiff of those circus peanut marshmallow candies which always makes you think you're going to like them. The fruit is maybe not so revelatory as it was this morning, being a little warmer, a little less crisp.
The final climb up your home hill is a killer. But you remember: this morning, walking by moonlight, at one spot along the road you stepped into a sweet cloud ~
the heady, unbelievable, Bubblicious-and-grape-soda scent rising from your friend-and-old-lady-neighbor's trellis.
Which tells you the gleaning season is about to end in a coming week of steam and dripping streamlets of warm juice and the ranks of glass bottles, row on row. Some for your neighbor - just a bottle or two - and even more for you.
The juicing grapes, plump and almost bluish around their hard little seeds, are what smell so good and grapey. What will give your juice the character it needs for your Thanksgiving table and Christmas wassail. But for your more immediate delectation ~