From Blossoms by Li-Young Lee describes Lee eating a peach. The peach is “succulent…” and he eats, “…dusty skin and all…” Yet, the peach represents so much more than just a peach. I think the peach is a metaphor for life. The sweetness of the peach represents the good times in life. Lee says, “...to eat…not only the sugar, but the days…” He compares life to an orchard, wishing he could carry it with him to obtain those sweet times whenever he wants.
“From laden boughs, from hands from sweet fellowship in the bins…” All of the peaches come from the same place. They sit in “fellowship” in the bins. All humans come from the same place (debatable, but you get my point). Humans are all inherently tied to each other in some way, even if that reason is solely because we are the same species.
“…comes nectar at the roadside, succulent peaches we devour, dusty skin and all, comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.” The peaches are eaten regardless of the dust that adorns them. Even with the dust, the peaches are still succulent. I took this to mean even through all the hardships and adversity one must overcome in life, the sweet moments in life still trump the difficult, “dusty” moments.
Lee further adds to this point by stating, “There are days we live as if death were nowhere in the background; from joy to joy to joy…” We have all had these days; the sun is shining, we have a pep in our step, and nothing can go wrong for us. Even if it doesn’t last all day, even if it is just for a brief moment, in that moment we love life. You can feel it down in your core, resonating from within. It’s almost epiphany-like when you realize it.
I think Lee takes a different stand on life than some previous authors we’ve read such as Barthelme. For instance, the first apparent difference is that Lee focuses on life whereas Barthelme focused on death. Lee wants the reader to appreciate the act of living and the good moments in life. Also, where Barthelme was more linear in his view on life, replacing each dead thing with something new, Lee is more takes a more cyclical approach. For instance, Lee says, “…we live…from blossom to blossom…” Each time a flower blossoms, it is essentially being reborn.