I realize that just days ago I waxed all poetic-like about seizing the last few days of fall. You never know when the snow will fall in this neck of the woods, I said. You have to get out there and gather apples. Pick the straw out of your clothing after a hayride. Stop and gaze at the brightly colored leaves before they fall. Because before you know it, my friends, the branches will be bare and the ground will be piled high with white snow.
But I was hiding something from you. And it’s time for me to confess. I had a watermelon tucked away in my fridge.
And today, I finally had to cut it open. Not because I wanted to, mind you. I was happy to hold on to my little slice of summer for as long as I could. I sliced into the melon because I was terrified it was going to go bad. And let me tell you, I cut it close.
I put a watermelon plant into the garden last spring, gingerly pulling it from it’s plastic package and snuggling it into a hole in the ground. I watered it and watched it grow. The vines stretched out across the garden. And it flowered.
But only one lone melon developed. It grew into a nearly perfect deep green sphere. I wondered if it was ripe. I pondered when to cut it from the vine. And finally, just before the frost, I brought it inside. It sat on the counter. I moved it to the fridge. But I couldn’t bear to get out my knife.
Perhaps I was afraid my solitary melon wouldn’t be sweet or juicy? Maybe I wasn’t ready to let go of the warm summer days behind me? Or, it’s possible I was just too darn lazy to chop the big thing up?
I wielded the knife and got into it today. I sliced it in half, then into quarters. I created wedges and then chopped off the rind and filled containers with sweet, red squares of summer. The fruit is delicious.
And as the garden wilts and the inevitable winter comes, I’m already thinking about next year’s harvest. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get two watermelons.