The advent of oranges, by Care Santos

A few days ago I discovered that people are divided between those who hate November and those who love it. The former speak of the lack of light, of the cold, of a kind of sadness existential that invades everything from the moment we change the clocks to winter time. The second we value the autumn colors, the end of the humid hot flashes of summer —so unbearable in the latitude that I have to live in—, the fondness for the daytime hours and for the warmth of the refuge itself.

Anyway, everything is limited to a question of tolerance to cold. Or maybe memory muddles the matter. If November treated you well other times, etcetera. Or it may be something more existential, the result of our conformity or not with existence, with the passage of time, with the irremediable turning of the world. Some are horrified just at feel the approach of Christmas. Or is it a matter of rituals? Take out the warm clothes from the closets, put the beach clothes away, roast chestnuts in a fireplace, walk under the burning colored trees. Perhaps November is also a matter of landscape. Autumn roses are so famous that they have even deserved poetic compositions and dramatic texts. Those in my patio seem to take the last chance to show off before winter nudity. I love those messages that plants send me. I try to stay vigilant, in case they tell me something I didn’t expect to know.

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And then there are the oranges. November is also the month when I look forward to the advent of oranges. I have bought them for years from a family in Valencia, the Serra, who had the good eye to set up their citrus business online. They keep me informed of the beginnings of the harvest and the variety that corresponds to each moment. The earliest are the Navelinas, which must already be when they fall. This year the wait is getting long. The Serras, whose family business is called, with very good criteria, ‘The best orange’, send them to me so freshly picked that the fruits arrive proud, wearing smooth green leaves and smelling of glory. You cannot imagine what joy when the boxes arrive, when we open them, when we distribute them in different containers so that they are aired. And the joy is multiplied by a lot when we taste the first juice of the season of the “real” oranges. Our oranges do not come from the other end of the world, they have not been in a cold room for how long, they have ripened in the tree where they were born. The young people of the house do not want others.

I like to know when the oranges are born, I like to know the rhythms of the world, I like to be part of them. I love to imagine that each orange is something of a summary of the summer that is left behind. I think all of that is for me November, too. Sit somewhere I like and eat a sweet and juicy orange piecemeal thinking about what happened and what is to come. It is like eating life in pieces. And I assure you that this November I value it more, much more than ever.

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