Thursday, 5 September 2013

Mast Year

In many parts of the country, 2013 is turning out to be a 'mast year' - a year in which the woodland trees are heavy with fruit, nuts and acorns. There's also talk of a bumper harvest of orchard fruits - and no wonder, after all this warm sunshine (and early rainfall). Yesterday, checking up on my own little plum tree - a miniature, with a weeping habit - I was pleased to find ten or a dozen plums, ripe and ready, hanging under the branches. I decided to leave them to get another day's sun, then pick them this morning. But this morning the branches were bare - all but one plum had gone, leaving not a trace behind. No discarded stones, no pulpy messes, nothing - a clean job, neatly executed. I suspect foxes.
It was a disappointment - they are usually very tasty and sweet (as was the one survivor) - but that's plums for you: here today, gone tomorrow (Eheu fugaces labuntur pruni...). I hope whatever - or whoever? - took them had much pleasure from them. They are a tempting fruit. As William Carlos Williams puts it in This Is Just to Say -

'I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold'


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