31 December 2010

Miracle of the Clementine

I bought a box of sunshine late last week.  It is from Spain, and full of ripe clementines that have been keeping me going ever since.

I sat down all alone at the lunchroom table, late this past afternoon to take a break and clear my head.  The stress levels at work have been ratcheting up.  In combination with the cold, gray weather descending on the Queen City of the Patapsco Drainage Basin, the stress has been a real knockout.  Any opportunity to brighten the day or gain some breathing space is a welcome opportunity indeed.  Hence, the box of clementines: sunshine incarnate.

I had a clementine as my snack.  The act of peeling the fruit was a meditation on slow time, a celebration of having to be nowhere, doing nothing in particular, except existing in the moment.  The sweet citrus perfume that arose from the rind was heavenly.  I could feel my muscles relax, my heartbeat slow down, as I inhaled the wonderful aroma. 

As I ate the segments, one by one, slowly chewing and listening to the squeak of pulp on my teeth, I meditated on the idea of miracles.  The sweet juice trickled over my tongue and down my throat and as it did so I could not help but think I had just experienced a small miracle: that of the existence of the clementine. 

Such a small, seemingly ordinary thing may not seem a big deal in this age of so-called Reason and Big Science.  But to me, I found it fascinating and uplifting, and considered myself lucky to know that clementines exist, and even luckier to be able to eat one.  Biology and agriculture, chemistry and physics, yes, these are indeed great achievements of the human mind.  They may even explain a lot about clementines, how to grow them, take care of them, make money by selling them.  But none of them explain the why of clementines, their very existence.  Their existence is an amazing thing unto itself, far beyond reason or faith.

I don't necessarily need to believe in the Periodic Table or in a Divine Creator to understand that a clementine is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes, I don't want to trouble my head with reason or faith.  All I want to do is to sit quietly, peel the fruit and eat my way to bliss one miraculous segment at a time.  And that is good enough.


  1. I really want to eat an orange now. Any kind.

  2. Everytime I buy Clemmies I just gotta sing "Clint Eastwood" by the Gorillaz

  3. happy new year and i am so loving the image of a box of sunshine, sugar! xoxox

  4. I've never had a clementine. Or, known anyone by that name. But your description made me want one. Orange, I mean. ;)

    Happy New Year! I hope this year is a good one for you IG.

    p.s., If I had a periodic chart on my blog, I'd list you as 'Gumbonium.'

  5. ah the simple joy of Citrus reticulata.....we here in the U.S. can thank the Florida storms of 1997 for the influx of the clementine to our shores. The florida orange crop went belly up and in return, we got something so much tastier (to my tongue anyway).

  6. Only our Gumbo could make eating an orange so interesting! I just bought a 'buy one, get one free' set, then gave one to an older couple in the parking lot for New Year's...if I had known I would have sent them to you my dear!

    Happy New Year friend!

  7. guess what? I laughed out loud. And yes, that was lovely. Steve.

  8. I could just smell the sweet citrus scent while reading this -- probably has something to do with the clementine peels in the trash next to me ;) I love those juicy little gems! A "box of sunshine" is the best way I've heard to describe them =) Always a pleasure to read you, my friend.


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