Swimming in Citrus

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It began as a trickle in late November, the Satsuma oranges one hopes for and associates with the Christmas holidays along with lots of perky lemons.  My neighbor rang the bell one Sunday afternoon, carting around a basket of each to share with all of the school friends who live in Carthage.  She didn’t have to go to the gym that day.  I took what seemed like a piggish amount, partly to lighten her baskets, and we ate them as snacks, squeezed them into salad dressings, and stuffed them into chicken carcasses to roast all through December.  
But, upon returning from the winter break, we’ve found ourselves in a citrus avalanche.   The color orange, in particular, dominates every produce stand.  Truck farmers come in for the day with an entire load of just oranges and sit at a street corner by their orange mountain with a scale, hoping to go home with less than they came with.  I can’t imagine who is buying them, besides Allan and me, because every home has a small citrus orchard in the yard.  I can see those yellow and orange balls everywhere I turn. And the long-suffering truth about citrus trees is that they put on blossoms while they are still bearing last year’s fruit.  As a woman who gave birth to two sons, fairly close together, (two years and 4 days), that thought makes me groan.
We’re past the point of peeling and eating.  We bought a slick juicer and our morning ritual is to juice up about 16 oz. of whatever combination we have at hand.  We have grapefruits, tangerines, blood and navel oranges, and then, the mystery citrus.  At first I thought it was a miniature lemon, like a Satsuma orange.  But our produce vendor, who just had a few, told me, “Bergamot orange, Madame,” (you have to say “ber gay mote, oh-ronge” to get the proper effect).  When I finally tasted one, I knew immediately what it was: the haunting flavor in Earl Gray tea.  I never knew where that essence came from. It’s from a dwarf variety of the Seville orange tree (I researched that).
So there is the metaphor behind my blog title.  It’s the surprising essence, discovered, appreciated, and then gone.  There was a pile of citrus on the bench beside me as I was writing and I thought, why not?

One thought on “Swimming in Citrus

  1. I am so happy to find you! and to discover the mystery of my beloved Earl Gray Tea. (I drink a double bergamot Earl Gray every day lately.) I often think of you guys and pray for you and wonder what you are doing in your world traveling lives. Glad to be able to see into just a little bit!

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