something good will happen in the future that I want to be here for
February 3, 2021 5:14 AM   Subscribe

"If we’re lucky, the cherry trees on the Tidal Basin bloom in April and maybe winter is over then. Maybe it’s not, because there are many kinds of winter: There is the darkness, and then there is the holidays, and then there is the brutal cold, and then there is the wet, lingering winter. We are still so far from spring." Defector's Kelsey McKinney on winter, resilience, and When The Cherries Run Out
posted by everybody had matching towels (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
A meditative essay on depression, winters literal and metaphorical, and the importance of preserving cherries.
posted by zamboni at 5:25 AM on February 3, 2021

I have a cherry tree at the house where I've lived for 11 years. In that time we've only had one decent harvest with two or three pitiful ones. The problem is that it'll warm up enough in early April to fool the tree into flowering but then that is followed by a hard cold snap that freezes them solid. Freezes in late April/early May have always been a feature of life here but the difference in the past two decades is just how unseasonably warm it'll get in March/April--- sometimes even up into the 90s on an isolated day. We had a similar experience with our peach and nectarine trees and basically gave up on them.

People have argued with me that this isn't climate change, that it's always been like this but I've lived long enough to remember regular bountiful fruit crops in my area when I was young and talking to the oldsters a big part of their lives were collecting and preserving these fruits for later use.
posted by drstrangelove at 6:59 AM on February 3, 2021 [7 favorites]

I know my post wasn't really following the point of the article but the truth of it is that thinking about the fact that it's nearly impossible to grow fruit in my area makes me realize that this is just one more thing I can't look forward to anymore. It's just one more thing that depresses me about our lives these days.
posted by drstrangelove at 7:01 AM on February 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

Thank you. That was lovely.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 7:48 AM on February 3, 2021

What a genuinely excellent piece. I planted a sour cherry tree because it's impossible to find cherry pie in New England (okay, trivially difficult). It now produces enough fruit for a pie, if I get to it with netting before the cherries ripen and the birds find them. Birds will strip the tree bare of fruit in a day and come back looking for more the next year.

I hadn't considered how beautiful cherry blossoms are, how elegant the tree is in winter, esp. if it's been properly pruned. I have planted an apple tree, plan to put in another cherry tree and another apple tree. This is how I demonstrate hope.

Going to try the maraschino cherry recipe.
posted by theora55 at 7:54 AM on February 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

This was a lovely read, thank you OP. I miss easy access to the bounty of DC farmer's markets.
posted by wicked_sassy at 8:09 AM on February 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

This was very moving.
posted by Stoatfarm at 8:37 AM on February 3, 2021

I'm sobbing. This winter is the worst. And I can't plan for when things will be better. Just hoping for spring.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:00 AM on February 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Defector is really turning out to be a great source of content, both for the old-school Deadspin snark and these lovely, more intimate pieces.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:02 AM on February 3, 2021

I also have a habit of putting sour cherries by in bourbon and sugar during summer, but this past year I did not because the farmer's market seemed like a frivolous reason to possibly put others at risk. I did collect several lemon scented candles. They have helped.

I remarked to my partner yesterday that I fear this is going to be a Grounhog Year. This time last year I was saying to friends, "A bad thing is coming," and then in March I said, "we should start staying home now" and then when we learned when our city would close things down and people agreed it would be longer than 2 weeks I said, "ya, more like 12-18 months."

I wanted to be wrong, and I said as much.

Now, it seems I was very wrong. I don't think we'll be out of this in September. I will buy as many sour cherries as I can carry this summer, with two masks and a plastic face shield. Rhubarb, too, in the spring. I've got a few friends who will look out for it at the markets near them, at distances I am willing to walk.
posted by bilabial at 9:46 AM on February 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

I absolutely loved this (and cried a little). This is an incredible tough time of year for me in the best of circumstances. This year is just . . . every step is why and a heartbreak. Thanks for posting. I needed this more than you will even know today.

Going downstairs to eat a luxardo cherry right out of the jar.
posted by thivaia at 11:45 AM on February 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love this kind of perceptive, thoughtful nonfiction and this was a wonderful read.

I wasn't familiar with Defector, so I was surprised to discover that this lovely personal essay about cherries and grief is posted on a website that seems almost entirely about basketballs and hockey pucks. So thanks especially for posting it, as I would never have come across it otherwise.
posted by oulipian at 11:56 AM on February 3, 2021

this was good, thank you. I didn't go to my farmers' market this year, and I missed it - not for the cherries, but for the nice Flower Man who sells bouquets for $5 and if you smile at him he will give you a few extra flowers while making up your bouquet - baby's breath and some ferns, and maybe if you are lucky a rose, and he carefully removes the thorns from the stem and tells you to have a really good weekend.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:29 PM on February 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

I found myself crying at this and wishing so desperately that I had anything at all to look forward to. The darkness and the holidays and the brutal cold and the wet lingering winter are usually my very best friends, and the crawl through spring and summer are the bad times. This winter has lacked almost all of its usual appeal but at any rate, the world outside my apartment has been as cold and dark as the world inside it, and thus there's some level of...integration.

Last summer was absolutely nightmarish, so much so that my brain has blacked out huge chunks of it. This next one promises to be no better. I try to remind myself that we are still very far away from summer but it's still light outside my window now, and it makes that little knot in the pit of my stomach clench itself a bit tighter.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:23 PM on February 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

In my part of the world it's orange trees, not cherry. Their bright fruit in winter helps me know that summer will come again.

I really enjoyed this, thanks for posting.
posted by Braeburn at 2:26 PM on February 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Winter is soooo loooong
posted by Space Kitty at 7:59 PM on February 3, 2021

Very nice, thanks. One quibble, as someone with a cherry tree: dude, just freeze those pitted cherries! That's what those super-large freezer bags are for! Way easier than canning, no alcohol in them (not good for depression!), and delicious as a frozen treat or warmed up and put over pancakes.
posted by slidell at 4:51 AM on February 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

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