The past returns to us in tastes and smells. Sometimes all it takes for me is one ripe pear and I'm transported to Newark, Delaware, sometime around 1976, as I park my bike against a fence to look for grounded pears beneath an ancient tree.
The tree grew next to a roadside fence marked "No Trespassing" along a winding road through the midst of a game preserve owned by the DuPont family. I remember the pear tree was also near an old stone barn, an ancient barn, the kind familiar to locals scattered throughout the region.
I don't remember if the tree's trunk was inside or outside the fence, but its pears dropped in the soft grass alongside the road, sweet and free for the taking. A long ago farmer may have planted the tree, but it no longer had a caretaker. Nor did it need one. The tree simply was. It was wild and free. And it fed a deep hunger.