My chief pleasure every week is the Saturday morning walk in our village of Hillsborough followed by the visit to the Eno River Farmers Market. I'm wearing the market's t-shirt right now. We know more and more of the farmers/vendors by name, like Marsha who sells cut flowers (we always get enough for our wall sconces and a large vase upstairs), and Rachel the fellow homeschooler who sells fresh eggs, jams, lemon curd, and the best meringues I know. We get butter beans, zephyr squash, fresh greens, eggs in mixed colored dozens, French bread or ice box rolls, Carolina Gold potatoes, cucumbers, blueberries and strawberries, when each is in season, origami dragons, caterpillars that turned into Painted Lady butterflies a few weeks later and which hung around our flower beds after release. We discuss how favorite vegetables or fruits are doing, and how many more weeks we might be able to get a particular thing before it's time in the seasonal round is done for another year and we have to wait for it to show up again.
But the best thing is being with my Dearest for the walking and talking, and then sharing all the colors and sounds of the market with her. There is almost always some kind of live music, and that adds to the festive atmosphere. It's a little country fair, with just the right amount of new and old each week. And that could be said of the conversation, as well, as we discuss the week past, and the weeks coming up.
Several weekends ago I bought my first big yellow-orange "ugly" tomato from Marsha, our cut-flower friend. Gladiolas, zinnias, hydrangea, celosia, Queen Anne's lace, rudbeckia, and a big fat irregular tomato. It made two killer sandwiches, but before I ate it I enshrined it in both my moleskine, with pen and ink, and attempted to capture it in watercolor in another sketch pad. Like all sketches, they pin down the memories for me, making them far easier to reach again later - but these recollections have taste and fragrance, too. It was a hot afternoon and looking at these images I can smell the tomato and feel the long slow moments and hear the silence in the house when I worked and reworked the watercolors until I wore the paper out in several places. I can feel the weight of the big beautiful thing in my hand.