In the morning it looks like the rain might wash out our plans for an outdoor festival. Wine tasting, music on an outdoor stage, a picnic in the grass. But by one o’clock, the clouds have scattered and the game is on; and by five o’clock, from the hilltop facing west, there are none, just the blue circle of the horizon in every direction, and a setting sun that lights up green and red and brown in the fields — all colors intensified by the cleansing rain overnight.
Tart apples, peaches, bread and cheese, smoked salmon. I cut into a tomato that was put into the picnic basket right from the garden. When I shred a few leaves of basil to mix with the tomato, the scent wafts to the next picnic blanket over, where five young women actually put down their smartphones and spin their heads around and yell “BASIL”!
What powerful flavor in those leaves. We eat it fresh till the first frost, and try to capture it in dried and frozen form, or as pesto, to carry us into the winter. But basil and tomatoes are really best savored in their own season. A scent so distinctive that I can actually remember it in February even though it last hung in the air in November; that grows stronger in memory till it is made real in summer heat again. Till then, sage and winter squash.
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