This is not the post I expected to write. It’s been awhile and maybe the cogs really do get rusty with abstinence. The reacquaintance with the keyboard brought visions of words that would convey the hum of warmth from the low slung New Mexican sun, the scrubbed clean scent of the juniper warmed by it, and the exaltation at the long shadowed, iconic Western images favored by it. But it all became abstract and elusive when I sat down.
I did take the long-awaited solo road trip. You know the favored Fall one that starts with a bit of fear my running away may be permanent and ends with a proud shot of the trip odometer? It was a stellar trip from beginning to the 2,500+ mile end. And Arizona got into the mix this time.
But first, persimmons. They’re the fruit of the gods you know. I love the twig cross bar – beautiful and reminiscent of Asian pottery jars (the fruit originated in China).
There are several varieties, but most have this distinctive (and very memorable) quality – the unripened fruit is so high in tannins, your mouth will be welded shut upon the slightest nibble of the unripened fruit (technically a berry). It’s a common joke pulled on unsuspecting southern children, who will in almost all instances eat anything. Captain John Smith described them best: “If it not be ripe it will draw a man’s mouth awire with much torment. But when it is ripe, it is as delicious as an apricot.” What’s not to love about a fruit this complex?
The seeds – about the size of a watermelon seed – are hard as a hammer and slick as black ice (I compared this characteristic to snot last year). They protect a translucent white center that cradles a very distinct cooler-than-cool utensil.
If you manage to split one perfectly without blood tainting the lucite center and an ensuing trip to the emergency room, you’ll see something like this:
This was from two years ago, but it’s onehelluva perfect split (thank you Dooley McGyver). And not a bad shot. Great light will do that.
The Farmer’s Almanac Blog gives the possible utensil discoveries and their prediction for the coming winter: “A knife shape will indicate a cold, icy winter (wind cuts through you like a knife). A fork shape indicates a mild winter. A spoon shape stands for a shovel to dig out all the snow.”
I’ve wondered about finding a spork.
This is last year’s seed samples. There were several spoons as well, but none worth photographing. And these were hard earned so if you don’t clearly see a knife, use your imagination.
Accuracy so far? Here’s the winter associated with the perfect spoon above:
And here’s the winter associated with last year’s knife:
So far for the two years I’ve been tracking this older than Methuselah harbinger, there have been only spoons and knives. Not a single fork (mild winter predictor) have my eyes seen.
So how about this year? The wild persimmons are abundant on my parents’ ranch. The tree was a real beauty dripping with the unripened fruit – a color I mentioned in a previous post that was so glorious fashion designers would need a brown paper bag. Deer were camping out around it waiting for the fruit to ripen and fall. Not really.
Here’s my “take” from the recent persimmon gathering treasure hunt – a turtle shell and a fossil. Almost as thrilling as the year I found a perfect arrowhead.
The seed you ask? What’s the cute little utensil in the seeds of this year’s crop? The turtle shell has protected them until this weekend. I’ll be splitting and photoing and baking a new recipe with them, so you’ll just have to check back.
Want to read more about this ancient compact jewel? Here are three previous posts.
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