Almanac

Watermelon — it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face. — Enrico Caruso

 

July is the great melon harvest, a bellyful of sweetness, the mother lode of summer.

In the sun-soaked garden, swollen fruit ripens on tangled vines. A green-striped wonder steals the show. One hundred days ago, when the Earth was newly soft, a flat, dark seed journeyed from palm to soil — a token from last summer. A tiny stem rose from the dirt. Leaves emerged. Vines ran in all directions. After an explosion of tiny yellow flowers: an explosion of tiny green fruits.

Today, a whopper.

The watermelon tells you when it’s ready. Sort of sings out, sending a signal through its smooth, thick rind. You give it a thwack, close your eyes and listen. The sound is rich and resonant — pitch perfect — like the beat of a primal drum.

The tendril closest to the fruit is shriveled and brown, just as it should be. And when you roll the melon over, another telltale sign: the yellow field spot on its underside.

Its aroma is the final giveaway. Not too strong. But even through the rind, the sweetness is undeniable.

You gently twist the melon from the stem, carry it in your arms like a sacred offering. Everyone knows that a watermelon isn’t just a watermelon. It’s an entire cosmos, the culmination of summer. Inside, a vibrant pink world is studded with hundreds of tiny black seeds. When you sink your teeth into that half-moon slice, the flavor hits you at once. You taste spring rains and summer days; bee tongue and butterfly kisses; the nectar of the journey and the freshness of the right-now.

As pink rivulets run down your chin and fingers, you want for nothing more. Because in this moment — wet, sticky and sweet — summer is everything.

 

All Ears, Baby

Nothing says Fourth of July like bread and butter pickles. Blueberry picking. Watermelon ice cream. And did someone mention sweet corn?

Platinum Lady or Bodacious?

Regardless, fresh is best.

Make shucking a family thing (the kids still think it’s fun).

Bring out the salt and pepper. Loads of butter. And if you’re the one behind the grill, you can’t go wrong with pure and simple. The best memories always are.

 

Super Buck Moon

Native Americans called this month’s moon the Buck Moon since male deer antlers, which were velvety nubs back in the spring, have reached full maturation by July. Also called the Thunder Moon and the Hay Moon, this month’s full moon rises on Wednesday, July 13 — the second and final super moon of the year. No matter what you call it, you can expect totally dreamy. PS

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