Archive for persimmons

running home

Posted in delicious places with tags on January 12, 2010 by thatwasdelicious

Going back to California in the winter is like time traveling. All of the sudden the edge of winter is gone. The nights are chilly and sometimes you need a coat during the day, but the essence of the weather is like the best, about to burst, part of an eastern spring. The other thing that I love about California in the winter is that the light is blue. The sky, the sun, the mountains, the shadows all have a blue glass bottle sitting in the sun glow to them that makes me feel like it is time to make a thousand and one plans, go for a run, jump in the ocean, and sleep like a child.

Last year when I arrived in California it was after a fall of traveling. My mom had moved into the house about a month before and Claire and I weren’t sure how to make this new place our own. I spent the next 6 months working, studying, and running and somewhere in those 6 months I found a way to make California home. When I stepped off the plane this December, I could feel it. The lightness that catches you under the feet, the elation and freedom that comes from knowing that you are home and some of the unconscious burdens of living and taking care of oneself are going to be lifted.

I think it was about the fourth day I had been back I pulled out my running shoes and went for a run through the neighborhood, a way of reacquainting myself to the streets that I sometimes get confused with Philly streets because they are overlapped in the part of my mind that knows Home. First there is the turn past the house that has lemon and orange trees by the front door. Then there is the long stretch of homes with fences and lines of roses, another turn and I am running past the school. Then a long straightway to the house with an  abundance of lavender and the cat that looks like a leopard which is next to the house of the outrageous hippies who have a dirt yard that with a sign that says “water conservation zone”. Cross the main drag of Mathilda, I am running past the public library and the women in kurtas who take a daily walk from the library to the park. There is another long stretch of road past a fence covered in ivy and then I hit the neighborhood of the fruit trees. Persimmons hang on the bare branches like orange-y Christmas baubles, pomegranates hang low, a dark purple-ly red also on bare branches. Avocados are still green amongst their waxy leaves, the smell of bay and oily citrus follows me until I hit the park. From the loop around the baseball diamond it is a nice stretch along the railroad tracks. Following the tracks I can feel my legs loosen-they know how close I am to home, how fast I can take this last stretch to my door, my house…

PS I first titled this “persmimmons!” for the beautiful persimmons that I took a picture of and wanted to write about, but then off I went on a tangent and ended up writing about running. BUT….what I wanted to write about persimmons is that they are delicious. Right now they are in season in California. Trees are covered in these funny orange, red almost tomato looking fruits. The taste of a persimmon is sweet and fresh, it is somewhere between a carrot, a mango, and maybe one other flavor that I can’t quite name since it am trying to write about taste from memory. The flesh is firm but juicy and I don’t think you can eat the skin, or you could, but I never have….. not sure why now that I think about it. A ripe persimmon smells absolutely luscious and sometimes they are so juicy the skins split. That is ideal. Softer is better, sweetness getting more and more concentrated and skin slipping loose from the skin. But don’t mistake bruised softness for ripe softness, the difference is in the smell. Just like a baked good, you know a fruit is ready when it smells like its taste. I think that persimmons are eaten in some parts of the world to celebrate the New Year-the color and taste of a fruitful year to come. Also, their name…persimmon….. oh I love it. Right. So that is what I wanted to write when I put that picture up. Now you know….