There are few things more comforting than curling up under the winter sun and watching it slowly engulf everything around you in its deep ochre hue. What does compare though, is when the smaller banalities immediately transport you back into time. As a child winter meant waking up to a thick blanket of frost on the glass. I used to bundle up and head to the bus-stop with scampered steps for fear of a frostbite. The wait for the bus led to neverending conversations with friends, what a delight it was to notice each others breath as we talked. We made clouds from our breaths. Oh winter!
As a child I remember oranges being a treat. Even now they are such a seasonal thing with the variety of the fruit changing as the temperature drops. December through February is the peak orange season and I remember sitting next to my mother during the winter vacations, devouring slice after slice of this beautiful winter fruit.
Ma would open the ripe orange, bitter drops from the rind exploding into the air, and separate it into two halves. Then slowly, piece by piece, the white thread-like peal would be removed, skin opened, the seeds extracted and something resembling a soft carpet of translucent juicy triangles would be handed to me. My eyes would light up at this sight, my mouth would water. Ma would always go the extra mile with fruits, whether it was de-seeding oranges or taking the peels off apples or breaking open pomegranates.
What dawns on me now as I casually bite into a piece of fruit is that I have stopped noticing the details of the experience. As a child this experience gave me so much pleasure…the colours, the texture…the memories attached to certain rituals we share with our loved ones. Like sitting close to my mother with the heater on during the winter holidays, sunlight pouring in and oranges being peeled off! Now all I have are memories. And yes, Oranges!
My son brought me these beautiful orange balls in the morning and instructed me how to de-seed them properly.
” Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curveball. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.”