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Francesco Mercadante


Harvesting Pomegranates

It was 19 September 2020, I was at work, and while painting the stairs of a house, I was attracted by a loud noise and looked out of the window onto the courtyard below. A gentleman and a lady, already well advanced in age, were picking pomegranates directly from the tree. I abandoned my brushes and ran outside, taking pictures with my mobile phone. The gentleman, perched on the ladder with scissors and goggles for protection, was cutting the pomegranates from the tree and throwing them downstairs, where his mother was holding her apron open like a basket. The throwing of the fruit was so fast that it fell and hit the woman’s arms, heedless of the bruises. Once the apron was full, the woman emptied it into a red box, taking care to clean the pomegranates carefully one at a time. Her son, impatient with the wait, called her to order, inviting her to return to the foot of the tree, and she promptly, with a lightning-fast, energetic burst of speed, reached her position in a back-and-forth, sympathetic beating. Amused by the comicality mixed with tenderness of this exchange between mother and son, I inevitably wondered how many other times they had repeated this game and a smile lit up my heart.

Francesco Mercadante

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