September in North Carolina means the return of the scuppernong grape.
It’s the state fruit. I first tasted scuppernongs as a child, standing with my grandfather under his arbor, thick leaves waving in the breeze, benevolent sun intermingling with cool shadow. The plain appearance of these grapes is misleading; the taste is divine. Richer than anything on Earth. Those thick, humble hulls contain ambrosia. And seeds; Granddaddy said just spit ’em out. It’s worth it.
Today’s his birthday. He’d be 114. As long as I live, he is, the scuppernong is, inextricable from September…
Every year, I await the return.
And savor it.
September, sovereign whose Crowning glory is not of gilt but of Unassuming mottled orbs, Pendulous bronze-green Pendants strung on knotted vine. Elysian fields, perhaps, this black earth where my Roots run deep, where my ancestors sleep. Noble edict, “Be fruitful and multiply,” Obeyed here to an extent only by divine design. North Carolina’s soil stirred, responded, produced— God alone infused the foretaste of heaven in its grapes.
With deepest thanks to the friends who know and bring me these offerings from their families’ old vines.
Thanks also to the inspirational Poetry Friday gathering at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme and to Matt for hosting.
September whispers the first hint of autumn with a cool breath caressing our faces our bare arms and legs in the still-warm sun. Whispers an invitation to walk woodsy trails under trees communicating in rustling green tongues. One leaf already fallen crispy and brown cartwheels across the path. It is longer than we realized. One of us would push for a more vigorous pace but the other of us is tired. A restful respite in the almost-chilly tree-proffered shade just short of the bridge we didn’t know was here. Cicadas chorus high above a big black ant hurries past and somewhere a bird sings as if it is the very heart of all things. We’ve come this far. We walk a few more steps one a little ahead one leaning on a cane one breath at a time. Not until we reach the bridge can we hear the water talking to itself below in a wordless trickling flow going on and on and on. And so we do even though we can’t see how much path is left to travel nor what lies ahead around the bowery bend. The bridge cannot whisper invitation. It only stands offering silent invocation. It is enough. We cross over. We go on.
Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the Tuesday invitation to write a Slice of Life and to my Spiritual Journey Thursday friends for the writing fellowship along the way. For more spiritual offerings see Karen Eastlund’s collated posts under “Finding Direction” at Karen’s Got a Blog! (Thank you, Karen, for hosting).