The fiery orb is a vision. Perched high above the heads of passing silhouettes it stares back into a black landscape sketched out by the fresh snow. The ornament on the grey tree unnoticed. It sits lonely on a branch illuminated by the adjacent streetlight. Snow falls gracefully unaffected by its presence, just as it has seemed unaffected by the weather for all these months. As the night gets colder and somehow darker, the snow stops – a respite immediately shattered by a flash of wind that would continue for the rest of the night. This persimmon remains unmoved; still there as if a rebuke of winter, long after all other permissions have given in to winter’s appetite and gone their separate ways.
Tonight’s weather is unusually cold in the late season, a last gasp of winter, raging at the dying of the season. Maybe this is what will finally cause the persimmon to depart from its branch. And then tomorrow morning, in the settled snow, there will be no trace that it ever was – not even of falling. The evidence of such an enduring life will evaporate from the face of the earth.
This persimmon, who has long survived the farmers’ harvest, those who climbed up into the trees, plucking each one, and taking them into barns to dry. It’s outlasted these persimmons’ second lives, drying out, then being taken to market, and eventually sold. It’s outlasted even their third lifetime – the trip home and the group snack time at work and other places where these dried persimmons are shared and eaten.
This persimmon continued it’s life on this branch long after others who like itself were not picked. But that instead had time turn them into mushy sacks that were picked to be enjoyed by school children and parents alike. And even others still who were less fortunate, that welled up as time passed, sagging more and more, turning into heavy orange waxy water balloons. Until their skins could not take it anymore and they flung themselves downward, splattering on the pavement and dirt below.
And this persimmon even long outlived those splatters, that went from a viscous orange to a blackened galaxy on the ground as the orange hue darkened as it swirled with the sand and foot debris in the pavement as it dried. And the persimmon stayed, watching over these blackened galaxies that people strode over foot.
This permission even outlasted the smaller ones. The ones that were not desirable for farmers or children, or parents at any stage even. And were too small to swell up and be picked off the branch by gravity’s pull. So even those stayed on the branches. But this persimmon outlasted even these; because soon the cold caught them as they were too small, and they shriveled up into tiny wooden husks with a color of the tree’s own body, becoming extensions of it. And they stay petrified on the branches, unrecognizable any who walk by.
This persimmon is alone. And sits where eyes rarely wander, as people pass by, as the school children have left for winter break, and even then, months later when they have come back one year older. This persimmon persists. And one morning it will be gone. But the next morning arrives, and snow falls gracefully, and the wind is calm, and it is still there.