As I rolled down the news feed on Facebook this afternoon, I came across a post by my longtime friend Pam, who spoke of the “magnificence and beauty” of watching nature on this late-summer afternoon. She is in northern Arkansas hill country, so the days and the scenery are a little different than my slice of bucolic splendor here in southern Oklahoma, but we do share the same blue skies today, the same warm breeze, the same signs.
Those signs say that summer is ending.
When I read her post and a couple of comments, it inspired me to go outside again, this time with the intention of photographing one of the most comical signs of the end of summer for us, the huge, chewy, spotty pears that fill our de facto mother-in-law Dorothy’s oldest pear tree down by the barn. Unlike the peaches that I snag in June when I mow, the fruit of this tree isn’t pretty. Still, I have fun eating them, or trying to eat them, at this time of year. Fortunately, I have strong teeth, because these things are like concrete. Once I actually get under the skin, the flavor is pretty good, and the meat is snow-white. It crunches like Styrofoam as I chew it.
There are other fruit trees on Dorothy’s end of the patch. There is an apple tree nearby that makes giant, flavorless, mealy green apples, and next to that is another pear tree that makes bitter, brown pears. A little farther down the driveway is a tiny cherry tree that makes incredibly sour cherries. Out in the woods are wild plums, and of course the insanely brambly blackberry patch on the west end of the property.
After photographing the pears and eating one, I checked on the goats (who won’t even look at those pears, let alone eat them), and picked a nice bundle of green peppers from the garden. I looked around again and saw the signs: summer is ending.