I see them every week, which is more often than I see my best friends. The patrons at the farmer's market pass me as if I were a ghost. I wonder if they recognize me too, or if I'm invisible. Italians believe that you never age at the table and, therefore, you should stay there as long as possible. If that is indeed true, then that law of nature must extend to the market—at least a good market.
We may not be aging while al mercato, but the years have never-the-less left their wear-and-tear. We've all gotten older on this spaceship called Earth—the weekly market reminds me of it. When you see familiar strangers through the snapshot of Sunday morning, you notice their physical changes. I suppose some of them have noticed mine. But, the market is a healthy and happy place and the morning light is flattering. Lamenting does no good anyway.
I realize this week that this year's asparagus has almost run its course. Red is the signal. As soon there are red cherries and red tomatoes I know that the asparagus will soon vanish. And I see red today. My favorite farmer is the asparagus guy and the end of asparagus season is always a sad one for me. Soon, he'll only have potatoes at his stall. It feels barren once the green spears are gone. Each year's asparagus crop makes me a year older, the farmer too. Not willing to dwell on it, I work my way to the cherries and sample one before buying. The cherry crop needs another week but I buy a basket anyway.
Some of the patrons have gained weight over the years. Others have lost their hair. I wear a baseball cap. It keeps my hair loss and now-naked scalp hidden from the morning sun. While the other patrons may notice my droopier skin and baggier eyes, they can't remark upon my scalpier head. But, I figure the few, remaining active follicles on the top of head won't be lost while at the market. They may drop out when some guy cuts me off on the way out of the parking lot. But, while I'm here I won't be aging. Nor will the hundred other friends I see here once a week.