Wednesday, June 20, 2007

petal, sweet and sour, hazel

A rose petal must have caught on my collar while I was sitting in the garden. It falls on to my desk. What is this? It is white, heart-shaped and transparent. There is a silken sheen on the delicately ridged surface; the ridges are fine lines radiating from the point, where the petal was joined to the corolla; the fine, translucent membrane curls slightly; light and shade follow its undulations. That such a complex, delicate material should exist, it seems unbidden, is worth noting, whether it is a chance occurrence or part of some unfathomable plan.

A perfectly balanced combination of sweet and sour, supporting to perfection its lingering aromatic flavours, is how I would describe the small, yellow mango called "golden mango" (Is it the same as the variety called Alphonso, which shares its qualities?) I found it in Sainsbury's last Sunday. It compares more than favourably with the standard supermarket mango even when the standard fruit is ripe and oozing juice. This sweet and sour balance, it seems to me, is important in all fruit and of course in wine (consider the great sweet wines of France and Germany, which are nothing if the impact of sugar and fruit is not supported by a firm backbone of acidity. In relationships too, sweetness, on its own cloys. Love between people needs an edge, a sharp line, where truth and honesty can carve a space for affection.

Where Major York's Road bisects the common, a hazel tree shows early nuts like little green lights. I wonder if the squirrels will spare these until they are ripe. The hazel trees adjoining my vegetable garden are invariably marauded by squirrels, which, in late summer, tear the nuts from the branches before they have time to form kernals, and scatter the broken, barren shells on the path where they crunch under foot.


tristan said...

hooray for excellent writing

Lucy said...

Yes, really.