Monday, November 4, 2013

Apples, Bananas and figs

Monday, November 04, 2013

The warm weather held out for another day, leaving Sunday a mixture of rain threat and sharp sun.
This is laundry day traditionally for me, and as I have since moving to Jersey City, I made my way to the Bubbles on Kennedy Boulevard, to buy the paper and coffee at Angel’s Market, before putting the clothing in the washers.
Then, again as a weekly ritual, I made my way down the street to the fruit market – which previously had been a popular eatery and hangout – for my weekly purchase of fruits and vegetables.
Over the summer, this is an easy chore since the assortment of fruits overflowed bins and I could take my pick.
But with autumn rapidly passing into winter, the plums and berries I usually included in my purchases were no longer available or the few that were so untrustworthy, I needed to select something new.
Celery and bananas are staples for me since I tend to bring them both with me for lunch daily – along with Greek yogurt and tuna sandwich – even though the bananas I buy today are not the same ones I knew as a kid, nor nearly as flavorful, as the ones I knew as a kid were wiped out in some early blight forcing us to settle for a blander kind.
I’m told that we are supposed to eat things in season, and for some reason, when I saw the golden apples in one of the outside bins, I felt a yearning for them I haven’t felt for apples in years.
During the week, someone close to me offered me a caramel apple which on account of teeth issues I politely refused. Perhaps this started my craving for the Garden of Eden fruit and so I grabbed them as I passed and carried them to the register with my usual purchases.
But the desire for the fresh figs I saw on sale at the counter came from some inner craving. In the past, I always preferred the dried assortment to the fresh, but for some reason at that moment, I could not resist.
All this has little or nothing to do with healthy feeding. I mostly eat well – only recently letting ground turkey back into my diet. But this purchase of fresh fruit every week is a kind of religious ritual, a connection to my primitive past, as if it is important for me to connect to some aspect of nature I cannot otherwise find in the big city.
I go to the river as often as possible, and even managed a rare walk in the woods this week, but this market thing seems to touch something else, something I carry with me each day in my lunch bag.
Indeed, the apples proved to touch a spot in me that I didn’t know needed touching.
And so did the figs.
Feeding a craving I didn’t know I had, and may not have again for a while, as the chill weather comes and the threat of snow, and autumn fruits give way to those things that we share around the holidays.

Perhaps next week, when I wander to the market, I’ll find some new thing to devour, something that will touch me deep inside the way the apples and figs did this week, something I can carry away with me, warming me against the external cold, brought on not just by winter, but that other change of season we all dread most.

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