Knife in hand, I begin my work.
The plums are warm from their rest in the summer sun. I select one. Its dark skin, freshly washed, stretches taut over soft flesh. I slice down its back, then prize it open like a clam, revealing the yellow-green flesh and the hard, brown stone within. With a twist, I free the pit and toss it aside; the split flesh I keep.
Bees bumble by, drawn by the honeyed scent of open fruit. They helicopter down into the basket to sip at the fruit-flavored dewdrops. I take care not to disturb them as I select my next victim.
The hummingbirds zip in with a buzz, grouse at me for being too close to their feeder. I move with deliberate slowness, encouraging them not to fear.
In the spruce above me, a dove mourns. She weeps until her boo-hoo-hooing annoys her neighbors and the ravens chase her off with a flap of feathers.
My hands grow sticky with juice; my fingernails are stained by the blood of slashed skins.
The drying racks fill.
Split plums, dark-winged butterflies, packets filled with long afternoons and the sun of summer, they will warm my soul come winter.