Fading fast, the sun still burns an angry red line across the horizon, splashing the tree branches and buildings with warm autumnal hues. Quiet envelops the streets as they quickly empty of pedestrians, ushering nightfall in more rapidly than the lazy days of endless summer that came before. Leaves crackle and flutter, pushed about by a sudden chill in the air.
That’s when it catches my eye. Hanging heavily on nothing but a brittle twig, the dappled maroon skin glistens slightly as it sways in the wind. This is no mere acorn nor late season berry, but a glorious, fully grown pomegranate, erupting out of nowhere in this urban landscape.
Dangling overhead just beyond reach, it hangs precariously upon its perch, like a fragile Christmas ornament strung up slightly too high, too close to the edge. Standing entranced, watching it twist and turn as another more powerful gust sends leaves spiraling downward all around it, I can almost see the disaster before it happens. Without warning, at the very moment I begin to turn away, the connection to the tree is severed by one last gasping rush of air, sending the delicate pomegranate flying. Instinctively, automatically, I close my eyes, inwardly wincing at the inevitable crash.
Shattered in a dozen pieces and hemorrhaging tart juices, the pomegranate stains the sidewalk, laying in ruin, cut down in its prime and cast aside by the cruelty of nature. Broken open, arils exposed to the world like an open chest of crushed rubies, the once pristine fruit lay in ruin. No one would appreciate its ephemeral beauty in such a state.
Hardly a beat passed before a neighborhood cat spotted the scene of the crime, pouncing to collect the shrapnel. Soon those sticky smashed seeds left stains across its tawny fur, as it gleefully indulged in this literal windfall. Streetlights began to flicker on, sending out a not so subtle call for retreat, but still I remained, mesmerized by the pure joy this scavenger took in its feast, relishing every morsel until not a single scrap could be considered wasted. Broken and disfigured, an unsightly mess in the eyes of the average onlooker, it was oddly comforting to know that the poor pomegranate nonetheless found a grateful audience in the end.