I am participating in Kat McNally’s April Moon, a two week reflective writing challenge. Each day, Kat sends an email with a single word prompt to spark some time during the powerful time between the total lunar eclipse and the full moon. Participate with us!
The second prompt is
What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?
Here in the Deep South and in Cajun country, at this time of year, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the word “juicy” is crawfish. We are entering the prime time of year for crawfish, with the prices coming down and mudbugs getting bigger. We spend July – February waiting for the crawfish to come back in season and then we complain from February through May about how expensive the little buggers are.
But when you have them, they are a little bit of heaven. To properly eat a crawfish, you’re supposed to suck the heads. It’s not my favorite thing in the world to do because I generally feel that it’s a lot of work for little return. Not all crawfish are juicy, but when they are – the head is filled with spicy, hot juice. If you’re not careful, it will run down your arms and make eating crawfish more of a mess than it already is.
To go along with that “juicy” thought – crawfish is often a communal experience, so it means being with friends and family, gathered close around a table, often elbow to elbow. There’s not much talking unless there’s a break to pour more crawfish onto the table. But there’s this sense of community. Sweet Husband and his father can put away a ton of crawfish and I’ve learned that if I want any substantial amount, I have to gather my pile before they get going good. But every once in awhile, Sweet Husband will stop and peel a crawfish for me if he sees one that he things is perfect. He knows I don’t really like to get my fingers dirty (we all have our quirks; one of mine is that I hate have fingers be dirty. I can’t help it. As much as I love digging in the dirt and planting things, it’s a constant battle between doing the work and needing desperately to wash or wipe my hands) so he will peel crawfish…or shrimp…or crab for me every now and again.
Beyond crawfish, which is a relatively recent introduction in my life (2005?), “juicy” reminds me of my childhood – summers spent wandering and a strawberry or blackberry patch somewhere near. Or jars of the GrandSner’s pickles lining the ledge in the basement – packed tightly in that spicy, sour juice, just waiting for me (or more accurately some one stronger than me) to open them up and bite into one, the juice exploding across my taste buds. Perhaps the sweet burst of the milk of a kernel of yellow corn.Or maybe a tomato fresh from the garden, releasing its precious juice thanks to a liberal sprinkling of salt. Maybe a slice of watermelon or cantaloupe given the same treatment. So much beautiful juice, leaving me a sticky wonderful mess.
Those were easier, freer days. Perhaps my grandparents or parents worried about washing the fruits and vegetables before we gobbled them down. But I think maybe they didn’t. Not really. Because they grew them. Or a neighbor did. We roamed throughout the day and into the early evening before dragging ourselves home, and no one seemed to be too terribly concerned about us. Different times, different places, different universes almost.
Those pure moments, though, I think remain. Utter joy. Pleasure…which means something entirely different as an adult. But to remain purely innocent for just a little while longer – just happiness.
What do you think about when you think about “juicy”? Let me know in the comments.