Orange tree by Herman Brinkman
I would put an epigraph of Ecclesiastes 3 up here, to be all dramatic and pensive, but I’ll just link it here. How’s that for anti-dramatic?
This little, or not-so-little, meditation stems from a convo I had with an astrologer about another topic that I desperately want to write about–the prosperity gospel–but I need to write that like it’s an actual for real essay–research stuff. Ironically, being underemployed makes it tough to have a focused amount of time to do that. Less time = more focused time? I guess so.
So, oranges. It’s wintertime in Florida, so since November, the citrus season has been well underway. I have an 8lb bag of navel oranges…from California. Before, I had some ruby red grapefruit and navels from Florida–for once! Usually, our state gives the rest of you our good stuff; and we get, I guess, California’s good stuff. I never understood that, but that’s commerce!
I remember being in junior high at my Christian school, selling boxes of grapefruit and oranges. I hated going door-to-door selling anything–it has never been my bag. But I had always wondered why we did this in the fall. Now I know. It’s the season.
Maybe it’s through some wicked marketing that I’m too lazy to research, but I always associate oranges with the summer. But citrus time is really wintertime. After May, we’re kinda done here, and then we get dusty oranges from South America that taste funny and not ripe. We’re also kinda addicted to having orange juice 24/7, so you’ll see oranges around all year long.
And it’s weird and unnatural. And you can taste it.
My favorite fruit of all time is the Rainier cherry. Named after Mount Rainier in Washington State, these hybridized cherries–a combo of Bing cherries and Van cherries–are sweeter than a typical cherry, and are red and yellow in color.
I actually got into Ranier cherries because of some slick marketing. I was shopping in a Jewel grocery store in Chicago years ago, and in the produce section, there was a video playing about these delectable delights–about how if you see them go brown a little bit, that’s the sugar. Ever since then, I buy them every summer. I can easily eat a pound of them in one sitting.
This fruit, though, has a very short season. Even that site says that the season lasts from May – August (May for California, June-early August for Washington), but it seems like just one random month and then they are gone. It’s a true summer fruit. You’ll see other types of cherries out for longer periods, but this one is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it phenomenon. So, I buy them every chance I can. You’ll never see Rainier cherries outside of the summer months. You rarely see stone fruits like plums and peaches, as well as other berries, outside of the summer months as well.
As Americans, we sometimes have fallen out of step with the earth’s calendar, of what the earth can yield to us at what times. If you see orange juice on the shelf all the time, you’ll forget that oranges are really a wintertime fruit. Wintertime is also a root vegetable season, but we usually see them all the time, too.
Because we now live in a global economy, we can take advantage of the Southern Hemisphere’s wintertime, along with shipping methods, and feed our orange juice addiction all year round. That goes for oranges, too.
But still. It doesn’t taste right. It doesn’t taste like the sweetness of a Florida winter.
This was one long preamble to how I’ve been feeling lately about my own life, and how out of step I’ve been with what I’ve been able to yield from my own earth. It also ties into that prosperity gospel mess, too, but I’ll touch on that a little bit.
As a child of the winter, being a Capricorn, I feel like I’ve lived through a very long winter of the soul, where everything looks seemingly dead, fallow, quiet.
I may have realized, through exhaustion, that I’m not in the season of Rainier cherries just yet. I have oranges. And tangerines. And tangelos. And grapefruit. But no cherries or any sort from any location.
It’s the same story I’ve been telling for months and months and years and years. It’s the same story that ends up in my dreams.
I want to be there, but I am here. I can’t get from here to there. I keep getting lost or stalled or abandoned.
There’s been a bit of shame with this. I feel like I should be in some certain place in my life. I should be having Rainier cherries right now. And that gets into the abundance mindset a bit, that you should have money and wealth all the time. There are no seasons of saving and harvesting and planting. It’s just harvest all day every day. Even astrology can show you that there are times to plant (new moons) and times to release (full moons).
You can’t have good oranges all year and you can’t have Rainier cherries all year, let alone all summer. It’s weird. It’s unnatural. And you can taste it.
Yesterday, I saw news that my Capricorn college roomie got a huge promotion in her job in municipal government. Not to blow up her spot (although this was in the news), but it’s a six-figure position. She’s been working in public service for at least over a decade. She’s made her steady sea goat way up the mountain as her former boss has gone onto another position at the state level.
The comparison game is a scary one, and I have been trying not to play it. I don’t want her job. I know I’m a writer. And, I know what I do want–stability: in relationships, in finances, in housing, in everything. I want to be a happy Cappy, not a sullen, bitter one.
But summer isn’t here yet. Even if I get some sort of heat wave, even if I get to feel the stirring of the earth within me, waiting to sprout new and exciting things in my life–it’s still winter. And I have oranges. And clementines. And tangelos. And grapefruit. Even though all I really and truly want are Rainier cherries.
I’ve been in a citrus season for a while. I haven’t been grateful for it, either. I’m tired of trying to create new ways to eat all these types of citrus fruits.
But, this is the energy I have to work with. I can’t necessarily extend this metaphor into what my oranges are–
- Freelance gigs that pay horribly, maybe?
- Online friendships that I rely on a lot.
But I do know that if things aren’t changing as quickly as I want them to, then it really is a season.
I can’t “manifest” cherries out of season, no matter how much I positively think about it. I can’t plant azaleas in alkaline soil. I can’t plant bougainvillea in Chicago.
Like with my job search. I was lucky to have gotten a couple of phone interviews in the fall as I did. I met with a recruiter on Monday who told me that his clients were in a wait-and-see mode because of the presidential elections.
Now January is starting to pick up. He feels like he should get me something within the month. It feels promising, but I only have known oranges for so long. It’s hard to think that the seasons do change.
With the Mercury retrograde energy, which is now in a shadow period since Mercury went back direct on January 8th, I had been thinking about that engineer I met back at my last full-time gig. I never got to say thank you for his kindness towards me. As a Capricorn, I usually like to cut to the chase and just ask people out–why waste time with games? But that can be perceived as being pushy (especially as a woman).
My real agenda was to express gratitude, something I should have done before I left, but whatever–gender role confusion, etc etc etc. Although I didn’t even say, “I hope to see you soon” or “let’s hang out sometime”–I’m not stupid: I did slip my business card in there. Whatever happens, though–at least writing that thank you note and mailing it off yesterday feels like a push towards summer, let alone springtime.
The energy, though, still feels like I should be waiting. And I have cabin fever.
Also–sidenote: I’ve gotten a little more used to rejection. I’m surprised that I’m not taking it as personally anymore. I think they call that growth. I’m realizing that I do have to be like everyone else and painstakingly, but respectfully, weed through people.
An adage I’ve been using with love and with money: whatever is meant for me will not pass me by. I’ve had to cling to that this month as the circumstances in my life look bleak and shaky.
Things are slow, period. There are no flash-bang episodes of brilliance or help or connection. I’m not used to the pace–yes, even as a Capricorn who took extra time to graduate from college and grad school. And maybe that’s why–everything feels late, almost like an out-of-season orange. But it’s what’s on the calendar of my life.
At the same time, the urgency there isn’t necessarily bad. Things are maybe starting to thaw out. Maybe seeds are sprouting underground and I can’t see them yet. Still, fighting against the orange tree, shaking it and hoping cherries will fall from it, is stupid and desperate. And that’s part of my exhaustion right there.
How can I be thankful for the season I’ve been in for years? What fruits have I been enjoying? What have I been ignoring that can still provide me nourishment and comfort? Am I ready for summer? Is summer ready for me?
These questions need answers, and as I look at today’s unyielding medium grey skies–I don’t know all the answers yet. Maybe with time and distance, I’ll appreciate what seems to be a rather fallow period in my life.
The impatience of 39 years and counting is valid, but it needs to be harnessed and channeled into something a little more productive than trying to change the season.
Maybe it can be cultivated into a joyful anticipation instead of hate and derision and shame. But even that process takes time–the process to realize that good things take time to grow and mature. It’s a time to meta-wait.
Spirit is still speaking, still supporting, still guiding. I pull tarot and oracle cards and see my journey reflected back to me. It’s comforting as I take a deep breath and try to see my circumstances as temporary.
The urgency may be the energy of the changing seasons itself. Things are already changing, but not as quickly as I would like. It’s OK for me to want to leave the orange groves of Florida and head up to Washington for a cherry festival. It’s also OK that it’s not yet time to take that cross-continental trip.
It’s OK to say “yay, you!” and celebrate successes of my friends. But it’s also OK to say, “I’ve got next.” and wait for my bowl of Rainier cherries.