Monday, October 12, 2009

A Prophetic Fruit

The topic of weather is one that is frequent among country folk. Farmers, gardeners, and the like are constantly concerned with what the weather is doing and, even more so, predicting what the weather is going to do.

Today, the topic came up while we were dumping chickens. Tim, the bus driver that brings us our chickens, mentioned that he had heard rumors of a "bad" winter. We, of course, have been hearing tell of the winter to come, not only from the people in the community but have also heard a few reports on the Weather Channel as well. Tim mentioned pensively that he had even heard that a man in Cove (a town just north of here) had found a spoon in a persimmon seed!

This was not the first time I had heard the folklore of predicting the coming winter by cutting open a persimmon seed. We began a long discussion on what the spoon was supposed to represent. Apparently there are 3 formations that the inside of a persimmon seed can take on; a spoon, a knife, or a fork. The spoon was surely representative of a cold hard winter but nobody knew for sure what the others predicted, and we were even a little cloudy on the spoon.

So, being the perpetual student I am, I began my research as soon as I had a chance. My first assignment was to find me some persimmons! I knew there were some persimmon trees on the farm but I wasn't sure where. I was already dirty and couldn't think of anything that sounded more fun than traipsing through the woods in the cold misty rain looking for persimmons. (that was not sarcasm by the way) The usual trees were easy for me to find, the sweet-gums, the hickory, the oaks and the maple, but I was having a hard time identifying any persimmons. Finally, I saw a single fruit on the ground and looked up to find more hanging on the tree. It's things like this that bring a farm girl so much joy! I had found what I was looking for.

Before I even thought about the consequences I gave the tree a good shake. Did I mention that it was misting rain? The persimmon tree bestowed upon me a lovely shower of the freshest Arkansas rain drops ever, and kindly dropped a few of her persimmons as well.
I gathered up the prettiest ones and brought them to the house. This is when I sat down and did a little research. First of all, I know you're all dying to know so I'll tell you what the traditional folklore states.

A fork found in a persimmon seed is indicative of a mild winter.
A knife means a cold icy winter (as in the wind will cut through you like a knife).

And finally, the spoon suggests a very snowy winter (plenty of snow to shovel).

I also found out through my research that in traditional Chinese medicine, the persimmon fruit regulates chi (or your life energy flow)!! I also discovered that it is used to treat constipation and I'll just take their word for that.
So, on I went with my little experiment. I removed the seed from the fruit and, yes, it is as slippery as it looks. I rinsed and rinsed that pretty little seed but it stayed just a slimy as when it emerged from it's little pod. I finally decided to try and dry it with some paper towels and eventually just held it in the toweling while I attempted to slice it open. My little paring knife has sliced many a thing, but this was a first and it handled the job beautifully.
EUREKA! And I would dare say that is the shape of a spoon if ever I saw one.
I am so anxious to see what the coming months will bring now that I feel that they have been so accurately predicted. It was intriguing to do the little research I did and besides, who is going to pass on all this whimsical folklore to the next generation? I felt an urgent responsibility and now I can't wait for Taylor and Kyle to get home to share all of this with them. Taylor may roll her eyes at my excitement but I'm sure to get an enthusiastic response from Kyle.

And won't we be even more astonished when the first snowflake of the season falls.

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