Summer Cantaloupe

6 years ago One hundred degree temperatures seem to be the norm around here and despite our little blue planet's insistence on hurling itself sunward, my meager garden continues to do well, producing a melon here, a cuke there and of course, an abundance of basil. I'm not hauling bushels of produce out of the yard by any means, but the fact that it is producing anything at all in this heat, well kudos to you N-P-K, photosynthesis and water for working together. And yes, you dastardly and fiery orb, you too. Great teamwork!

If I had known how well the cantaloupes would do, I would have planted them last year and the year before that. They were the most satisfying of anything that I grew this year. They had me at cotyledon.

The vines trailed longer and longer with each day that passed and then the blossoms came. Cantaloupe blossoms are not shy. They shout a bright yellow and beckon every bee, every potential pollinator within pollinating distance. And the melon itself? It has baby fuzz as if it were a  newborn chick but over time the surface becomes smooth and toward the end, before it turns yellow and slips from the vine, before that happens, the spider web pattern emerges. Cream against green, then, in no time at all, cream against yellow and eventually it frees itself from the vine. It gives itself to you, it releases into your open hand. At that point you feel like you've been together forever, an old married couple, and you don't know whether you want to cradle it or stick a knife into the center of it.

I shouldn't say that; I mis-characterize the thing. It isn't a love-hate relationship that's been cultivated, it's all love. And it's sweet and sunny and watery inside. It's perfect. Just what I was waiting for and just as good as I imagined it would be.

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