islands parting tides as meteors burn the air.
Oysters powder to chalk in my hands.
– from ‘The River’ by Robert Adamson
It’s been raining for days.* Heavy rains that leave the air humid and cloying. A sky washed in bruised shades of grey. It makes the spring greens look impossibly greener, the overhead leaves seem closer reflected into prisms by raindrops. T describes the weather in the simplest terms: rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, rain. An apt description. We walked to school the other days in gumboots and umbrellas, W’s skirt tucked up inside her rain jacket. And she still had to change into a dry set of clothes by the time we got there.
When I look back at momentous occasions over the past decade, so many seem to be precipitated by rain. My trip to India in the middle of monsoon season, watching the Ganges flow fast and strong and hiking up to the foothills of the Himalaya – a face of the goddess if I believed in that kind of thing. Our first summer in Brisbane where the floods drowned towns and people and any illusion of human invulnerability. The night I miscarried it was raining – I remember padding barefoot through the dark house after the pain had subsided, the drip drip from the eaves. In early labour with W we walked along the Brisbane River as fat heavy raindrops fell on us. The night before T was born my waters broke as it stormed outside.
For much of my life Australia has been in drought and now we face climate change and the possible destruction of life as we know it. Perhaps I’m reading too much into the significance of falling water. An omen of something, or just a hoping for one. A lack of omens, perhaps.
All of my favourite rain memories are humid rains, summer rains, almost-tropical rains. The kinds of rains best enjoyed eating the fresh fruit of early summer – watermelon and cherries. Oh, the cherries! So here, a summer red(ish) fruit salad to make the most of these final (rainy) days.
(and as you can see by the small hands sneaking into the frame, this fruit salad is popular with kids!)
*I know that Narrm is sunny-skied at the moment but when I wrote this post at the end of last year it had been raining for days.
Red(ish) Fruit Salad
This is a forgiving recipe. You could easily add/replace the fruits with raspberries, blueberries, even thinly sliced pineapple. And if rosewater isn’t to your liking, replace with orange blossom water. And if you’re looking to serve this for dessert, scoops of vanilla bean ice cream wouldn’t go astray.
150 grams strawberries – quartered
1 peach – halved, pip removed and sliced thinly
200 grams watermelon – diced
150 grams – cherries, halved and pitted
60 grams blackberries
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsps rosewater
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsps shredded coconut – toasted
In a large bowl, combine all of the fruit.
Whisk together the brown sugar and the rosewater. Add it to the fruit along with the lemon zest and toss – very gently! – to combine. Leave to macerate for anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes.
Divide between four bowls and top with the toasted coconut, to taste.