These days, the citrus scent of Japanese mandarin oranges takes me back to my childhood. They came in wooden crates and my parents purchased one or two boxes throughout December. They stayed down in the cold room or basement. It was the only time of year we enjoyed them. How sweet they tasted.
My grandparents (on both sides) gave all of their grandchildren a paper bag filled with candy, nuts and one mandarin orange wrapped in green tissue paper. I didn't appreciate the orange so much, then, as I would now.
After the oranges were gone, the box remained, with infinite creative possibilities. It made a great doll bed, a little shelf for books on the desk my father built into our closet, or a repository for childhood treasures. What did you do with your wooden orange crates?
On this day, as I peel an orange, I breathe in the scent of childhood Christmases, slowly section each piece, pull off the white membrane and savour the sweet pop of juice in my mouth.
These days, lists are being made and there is tea beside the fire. Advent begins this Sunday and I'll bring out the Nativity set, hang a wreath on the door, and the season of preparation will begin again. As the earth tilts, ever so slowly, further from the sun, Christendom anticipates the coming of the Light of the world.