Grapes

Eating grapes makes me feel like a lord, from a time so long ago that my great-grandparents could barely remember it, when they were children and things were dirtier and less sweet. My great-grandparents had parents, who were older than they were. They probably had to bury their own dead. Maybe their uncle dropped a heavy rock on his foot while trying to load it onto a wagon. It broke his foot, crunching all his small foot bones into tiny pieces. Then a week later he was dead. And my great-grandparent would cover him and drag him out into the yard, where there was a deep hole. They would roll him in, unceremoniously, then probably pray and cry, because life was strange and often awful. No one involved in this weekday funeral had ever eaten a grape.

Grapes are candy nuggets that grow on vines. They’re made of water and sunshine and nutrients like nitrogen, which were supplied to the grape plant by animals peeing nearby. Humans have selectively bred them for generations – because we are clever and we know things about plants – so that the grapes are sweet and thirst-quenching, instead of bitter, small, and full of seeds.

Grapes are squishy sugary vitamins. Like chicken nuggets, but made of water and sugar. Edible, convenient, perfectly-sized for our mouths, satiating hunger as well as thirst. Grapes are sold for mere coins. We can choose between two different colours.

Grapes are a fruit so beautiful that we paint bowls filled with them.

We have access to dozens of kinds of fruits, many of which are not grown natively where I live. 200 years ago, I would live and die without ever having seen a kiwi. I would croak, relatively young and confused, never having tasted a pineapple. Mango would not be a word that I would ever learn to spell, because I would never have to use it in a sentence, because I would be ignorant of mangos. I would not have been able to read or write anyway. Mangos grow literally a world away, yet they come flying to us on giant airplanes, ours for pennies.

I think it’s important to realize the importance of grapes, and how such a simple everyday fruit was once a fantasy too fabulous to imagine. We are spoiled. We take everything¬†for granted. Simply being alive in this world should fill us with wonder and awe, like hot air in a big floating balloon, turning us into warm weightless giants that pay back our blessings with kindness, understanding, and humility.