Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bounty of Peaches

We have a number of peach trees in our orchard.  The numerous varieties of peaches ripen here in June, July, and August.  We eat, preserve, and give away.  Birds also enjoy the peaches. 

"If any sense in mortal dust remains
When mine has been refin'd from flower to flower,
Won from the sun all colours, drunk the shower
And delicate winy dews, and gain'd the gains
Which elves who sleep in airy bells, a-swing
Through half a summer day, for love bestow,
Then in some warm old garden let me grow
To such a perfect, lush, ambrosian thing
As this. Upon a southward-facing wall
I bask, and feel my juices dimly fed
And mellowing, while my bloom comes golden grey:
Keep the wasps from me! but before I fall
Pluck me, white fingers, and o'er two ripe-red
Girl lips O let me richly swoon away!"
-  Edward Dowden, In the Garden VI: A Peach

The Peaches of Immortality and the Queen Mother of the West, Hsi Wang Mu

The saint of longevity, Shou, sits inside
the Sacred Peach.  In his hands he holds
a sacred peach and a dragon staff. 

In the picutre below, Dongfang Shuo, circa 100 BCE, steals a sacred peach.

"Domestic wall-hanging embroidered with the image of Hsi-wang-mu,
the Queen Mother of the West, with phoenix and offering dish, and
three bats (fu) pun symbol for happiness.  The Eight Immortals appear
at the sides.  Late nineteenth century, Ch'ing Dynasty.  110" x 59''."
Looks to me like She is carrying four peaches on the offering dish. 
Tao: The Eastern Philosophy of Time and Change 

"The peach (Prunus persica) is a deciduous tree, native to Northwest China, in the region between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated.  It bears an edible juicy fruit also called a peach.  The specific epithet persica refers to its widespread cultivation in Persia, whence it was transplanted to Europe. It belongs to the genus Prunus which includes the cherry and plum, in the family Rosaceae. The peach is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell.  Peach and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. In contrast to peaches, whose fruits present the characteristic fuzz on the skin, nectarines are characterized by the absence of fruit-skin trichomes (fuzz-less fruit); genetic studies suggest nectarines are produced due to a recessive allele, whereas peaches are produced from a dominant allele for fuzzy skin.  China is the world's largest producer of peaches."
Peach - Wikipedia

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