Observations While Zesting Lemons

Lemons to zest for Cook's Farm Dairy Lavender Lemon Ice Cream 
By Iris Lee Underwood, July 2014
I hold a lemon in my left hand,
splotched with liver spots
(my hand, not the lemon), and scrape
the zester over it (the lemon, not my hand),
up and down with my right hand,
also freckled with age, at the end
of a fine June day, just four
sunsets into summer, the tenth
of my zesting lemons occupation, and feel
relief in my shoulders, back and hips
after a long day on the farm.

For I perceive from my kitchen window
the days decreasing and know this
July concludes the necessity to zest
piles of lemons to pair with lavender
ice cream, scones, and lemonade –
not that I am not fond
of the clean scent of lemons –
it’s just enough zesting for a lifetime,
I reckon, and smile as the Muse sings
her song of a new season, one of more words
in hand – and less lemons.

Less lemons, dear Reader? Enough zesting for a lifetime? What was I thinking four summers ago?
           In this kitchen, there’s no such thing as a retired zester—my trusty Microplane with a razor-sharp stainless steel blade. A new season, particularly one with more words, will not be denied its due celebration with the farm’s favorite foods.
In other words, our barn wood tables and benches await my book release party July 7, and I’m also the cook.
           Fifty bald lemons later, I ask you, isn’t it wondrous how a lemon fits into the palm of your hand? Doesn’t matter which end is up, bloom or stem—nipple or navel if you prefer anatomical terms. That’s between you, the lemons, and zester.
By the way, avoid lemons on steroids. They’re too swollen to cradle with your fingers. After all, the objective is to relax and zest, listen to your favorite radio station, or birdsong, or sing your own heart out for a good, long while.
Perhaps you’ll see a semblance in the zester’s movement to that of a bow upon violin strings. The faster the music’s tempo, the faster the zesting.
Today while I zested lemons to freeze for ice cream and scones, WRCJ aired Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Truly, the timeless interlude lifted for the movie Somewhere in Time is rapturous. Again, my skin tingled as naturally as the taste of lemon puckers my lips.
My first memory of the sour flavor of lemons is set in Detroit’s Edgewater Park. One of my kinfolk walked away from a lemonade stand with a cup filled with ice, sugar, and a lemon sliced in half and squeezed. One happy lad, he sucked on the sugary pulp while we strolled by the roaring roller coaster filled with screaming people.
Such memories justify time spent with lemons to gather folk who’ve guided me to this remarkable moment as an author.
Yes, I reckoned wrong four years ago. I’ve observed again what I’d forgotten—the solitary and communal benefits of zesting lemons.