What lies within

 

scuppernongs

They aren’t beautiful, scuppernong grapes. Their unassuming greenish-bronze skins are flecked as if with age spots. Hardly inviting.

If you have never tasted one, you have not fully lived.

Yes, the seeds are a nuisance, difficult to manage in polite company, as one must spit them somewhere.

But put one in your mouth, gently split its remarkably thick skin open with your teeth … oh! The burst of richness is almost breathtaking. Embryonic wine, a touch of dying summer, a whisper of sweet things to come, something of all Christmases and bit of Heaven is encased in that homely little orb. No other taste on Earth compares. When I first studied mythology, I wondered if ambrosia, the food of the gods, was actually scuppernongs.

I first encountered scuppernongs as a young child. I can see the vines towering over my head, the flickering sunshine and shadow of wide leaves, the poles my grandfather erected, his straw hat, the plaid pattern of his sleeve as his big wrinkled hand reached up to pick the grapes for me. No words; just richness. Just joy.

A lot of things are like scuppernongs – unappealing on the outside, messy and more work than seems necessary. Teaching is like that. Writing is like that. Living is like that. Get beyond that first impression; it’s misleading. Press on to the heart of it. What you find there will take your breath away.

Reflect: When has the appearance of a thing, an experience, deceived you? What surprise was waiting for you within?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “What lies within

  1. I love how you relate Scuppernong grapes to teaching, writing, and life! What a great activity to start the year (or whenever the grapes happen to ripen) and show students how something not so appealing can be breathtaking if we give it the chance! Thank you for sharing this sweet slice with us! 🙂

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  2. Thank you, Darin, for your comments! Yes, I thought especially of writing as an analogy for something initially unappealing, how ordinary things like grapes can be explored for deeper meaning. The ordinary becomes extraordinary if one works to bring it out. Scuppernongs ripen in September – perfect timing for back to school lessons! I’m glad you enjoyed reading the post. I enjoyed writing it.

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