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Wednesday, 9/1/10 – Firmer Fruits

Tiz enjoys the early solitude of Saturday mornings and the silent, still-dark streets resting beneath the lightening sky. The day will be warm but the morning air is chilly and she can see her breath misting the morning air as she walks.

She carries a shopping bag down empty sidewalks on streets free of the weekday clamoring of suburban commuters, across Bradford Street, past the barricades to the farmer’s market on Wellington.

She walks the length of the cobblestone street watching vendors unloading, unboxing, unpacking. At the far end she stops at a stall offering teas from places she has never been, never heard of. The woman selling the teas tells her about the tea, its organic nature, its fair-market value, and the benefits of its healthful blends. She brews a pot and Tiz watches the leaves – at first dry and compact – unfurl, expand and bleed golds, greens and browns into the swirling water.

The tea seller watches as the scented steam carries Tiz to lush hills outside of remote villages where woven grass baskets are perched high upon heads over brightly colored dresses and bare feet that raise dust on sun-warmed, red dirt.

The tea is good. Tiz sips it slowly, scans the nearby stalls and looks up at the reddening morning clouds.

The market changes little from week to week but Tiz enjoys the process of moving between the stalls, inspecting the packages, the products, the produce. The tea is light in her cloth bag as she moves toward the musty ripeness of the cheese stand and samples of Emmentaler, Gruyere and Raclette. The nutty sweetness paints pictures of snow-capped mountains that reach up, way high, into clear, cool, blue skies behind her closed eyes.

The cheese adds some weight to the tea leaves in her cloth bag.

While running her fingers lightly over the patina on an old mantel clock she is told that it is an original, one-owner piece that still keeps perfect time. The winding key is taped to the back. She thinks of the clock sitting silent in a damp, cobwebbed basement – some one’s grandmother’s belongings moulding in boxes as the clock timelessly ages.

Wrapped in newspaper, it is added to her bag.

The fruits, sweet and firm, brighten the morning with jungle reds, yellows and oranges. She feels the moist air beneath wide, forest-green leaves, hears the call of a toucan as an imaginary parrot flies past a ring tailed lemur perched on a limb eating a passion fruit.

She is careful not to crush the fruit under the weight of the clock.

The only stall remaining is as wholesome and healthy as the American Heartland. She peers out over farm loads of freshness – corn, beets, carrots, tomatoes, onions, green beans, squashes – growing alongside a dirt road. Clouds of dust whirl up behind the 1948 Desoto she is riding in. Her father relaxes behind the wheel as the road runs arrow straight between the fields and off into the horizon. Sunlight glitters on the dust entering through the open window and settling on her gingham dress and on her father’s fedora sitting on the seat beside her.

Only the firmest and most flavorful are placed on top of the things already carried in her bag.

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