Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Seasons Part 1: Avocados

I have a creative, thoughtful friend who has her own personal seasons.  She has three seasons: nectarine, dreams and crane.  In the summer nectarines are delicious.  Dreams are for winter.  Cranes emerge in spring, and she means the kinds of cranes that construct buildings, not birds.  She owns her own seasons, and because they are hers, she is not governed by them.  She shares herself with them.  When she told me this, I thought of course why do all seasons have to be Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer?  Why can't there be another point of reference?  Why can't seasons revolve around me?  It is so obviously possible.    

This begs the question; what will mine be?  Maybe this is obvious to some, but I haven't thought this way before and I must consider it.  After all, they will become a tradition and as permanent as a tattoo.  Careful consideration is necessary.   Maybe it will take a year or so to commit to a set season, maybe I will have more than three, or less, or more than 12?  

After awakening to the idea, it is surprising how to realize that I do tend to think in seasons unconsciously. 

For example,  I work in higher education and work on an academic year so I'm naturally tuned to the cycles of the quarter and the rise and fall of workload that comes with being a teacher, especially on a quarter system.  It makes sense to me and I think it likely does in most professions.  My energy falls and rises with the presence of students and other teachers.  I also tend to intuit the energy of the campus space, I absorb the tension in faculty or its release.  I feed on the work habits of those around me.

Pealing through this energy of my profession and folding in on my own forces is tricky.  In other words, rather than reacting to the energy around me, what is my energy bringing to this? That is my season at play, not some other system pushing on me.  Unpealing this is key.

Summer is a good time to start.  For me, it is of professional sleep, work is slow and I've come to terms that I may consider myself on-call, passive, not active or proactive, just reactive in my profession.  Summer is a time for reflection, learning and planning.  This summer,  I've painted more, since there is more time for it.  I work from home more.  I support my family more proactively.   There is more time for reflection and even criticism of my life.  I've been weighted down by thoughts of quitting my job, of finding something new.  I'm very aware of a new restlessness rooted in my mid-life transition unexpressed.    Some of these themes will follow me across the years but I'm searching for a universal truth that touches me. 

I caught myself thinking recently that I really love that the avocados are back in season.  They are never in season in Seattle, but they make their way to Seattle in a delicious state beginning sometime in the Summer and maybe Spring.  In the Fall they turn tasteless, mushy messes and I refuse to eat them anymore as they barely mimic their potential.  Summer time, they are creamy, full, delights, smooth and delicious.  Wonderful with the warm, just picked tomatoes from the garden and a little basil and a pinch of salt.  No dressing needed.

Avocados have multiple meanings for me.  My fondest memories of living in Managua, Nicaragua are with my lovely friend Jenny Maudsley.  We often sat on the shared patio between our two studios in the shade of a mango tree away from the summer heat, drinking Flor de Cana mixed with Squirt. We talked about everything as we shook off the 60 hour work week with that drink and the burgeoning fondness of our friendship.

One day, as we sat under the stars the topic turned to avocados.  We adore them.  And central America is full of them, so plentiful they reach down from urban trees tempting you to pick and eat them on the spot.  Oh, the creamy fullness of dipping into a fresh avocado peeled with your fingers like a banana and eaten like an apple.  An adventurous delight.

Just like a good snog, as Jenny my English friend, would quip  - orgasmic.  And just like any good friendship, we developed a lexicon around a good avocado and a good hook up with that just perfect boy; the peace corp worker, the backpacker from new Zealand, the Europeans traveler.  Any boy that made our knees weak at the site and a belly lurch at the first kiss.  We were as picky about these boys as we were about avocados.  They had to be the perfect combination of sensation, texture, touch and zesty humor.  These were our avocados.  We did not compromise on them, they had to be luscious or not partaken.   The search for a perfect avocado was part delightful anticipation and part quest. 

My time in  Central America was a time of rawness.  Sweet, full, exposed, truthful, sometimes ugly and sometimes bountiful.  I struggled with grief, struggled with my identity and future.  I wandered across that country enjoying its energy and authenticity.  A bit aimless, but in my aimlessness I settled in myself for a time.    And avocados filled that  time as a symbol of the pleasure, fullness and surprise that magical part of the world gave me, all sensual, spiritual, and nourishing. 

So this season is avocado season, it is obvious now.  It is a time to be raw, to go inward, to find new expression and to seek raw sensation.  To muddle in career work and work on life meaning and to explore those energies that I don't get to in a dull winters and the throws of academic stress. .  And to enjoy a good full wonderful avocado until the season ends.  And I don't know yet when it ends yet.  That will be the joy of exploring my next season. 

And to my new friend, I thank that she shared her seasons with me.  I love this idea and find thoughtful reflection in what this may mean to me.  I love nectarines as well, though not as much as she does.  But during her season almost every morning I make my scrambled eggs with delicious nectarines and think about her and the gift of my own seasons.  Here is her recipe and during avocado season, I will stir up some of my own avocados: 

Scrambled Eggs with Nectarines

2 tablespoon chopped onion
1 teaspoon ghee
1 clove of garlic
1 nectarine
1/2 chorizo sausage
2 eggs
1 garden fresh tomato chopped
2 tblsp fresh basil

To do:
Sautee the onion, garlic, nectarine and chorizo in the ghee for two minutes over medium heat.
Crack 2 eggs in pan and scramble mixing all ingredients until eggs are cooked to your preference.
Turn off heat and stir in basil and tomato.

Eat with a summer melon on the side like watermelon or cantaloupe.  Top with an avocado. 

Addictive love.  Enjoy.