Peaches & Summer Solstice

FullSizeRenderOne of the more hipster things I do is follow a peach orchard on Instagram. It started when I stumbled across them searching for peach desserts (my favorite kind!). I don’t do Pinterest but regularly scroll Instagram for meal ideas based on a #ingredient. (I know that whole sentence was gag-level millennial but no apologies.) At first I was drawn in by their beautifully photographed recipe ideas but before I knew it, I was fully invested in their peach crop’s performance. Are there enough blossoms? When will the first fruit go to market? Will the peaches last through July this year?

Living in Los Angeles, I am pretty out of touch with seasons. Aside from our annual rainy January, it’s always summer, almost summer, or just been summer. Our produce comes from Mexico and Washington and even further places so I have access to almost any fruit or vegetable I want at almost any time of year. Without meaning to, my peach orchard follow became a window into the seasons of growing and harvest and rest that I do not experience but quickly became comically invested in.

I think we are all looking for ways to mark the passing of time. As children, it was your grade in school or birthday party. As adults, it is whatever job we had at a certain time, or person we were dating, or how old the baby was. It’s easy to mock all the “social media holidays” – Pi Day, Siblings Day, Star Wars Day, etc. But I think there is a reason they work so well for marketing. We want a moment, a space to stop to commemorate the things that are important to us and bring us joy, even if it’s something as simple as the discovery of pi or our love of a pop cultural phenomenon.

This summer I have been acutely aware of the lengthening and then shortening of daylight. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am taking public transportation and getting used to a new work schedule. I notice how bright the sun is in the morning walking to my metro stop and how long the shadows are as my metro train makes it way through East Los Angeles in the warm evening.

On the summer solstice this year, I felt a tightening in my chest when I realized the days will start getting shorter again. Was I grieving daylight? Or just suddenly aware of how short the days and years are becoming? Time seems to be moving too fast and too slow at the same time and sometimes I want to just sit down and push the pause button until I can gather my wits about me.

The blessing and curse of time is that we cannot control or alter it. The earth continues its revolutions around the sun at roughly the same pace it has since the beginning of time. I don’t want to waste the precious days and years I amgiven. I want to live them as fully and intentionally as I can. On the bad days when I am most tempted to just rush and get them over with, I am trying to learn to breathe and live through them. I am trying to learn to look for and savor that one glimpse of beauty I find in the phrase of a song or the orange of the trumpet-flowers crawling up the side of my apartment building.

I don’t feel silly about celebrating National Friendship Day or the first day of Autumn or any of the other days we have designated to mark the passing of time and our love of something. And when the peach orchard in Georgia has a particularly good harvest, I celebrate. Life is just too short and too long to not celebrate joy where we find it.

P.S. National Peach Pie Day is August 24 this year if you want to celebrate with me!