Longing for lemons

by | May 19, 2016 | Seasons Newsletter | 28 comments

Lemons on blue glass dish

 

I gaze out the ranch-sliders to the little grove of lemon trees, scanning the sharp leaves and hard green fruit, hoping to find one that is ripe.

Early winter is approaching here, and it’s too soon for lemons. But I have a cold and am longing for a lemon drink.

Longing can arise in any season. 

 

Memories

I lie here, immersed in a madrigal of memories. I see my mother bringing her potent paste of honey and undiluted lemon juice, and remember her confidence that small sips of lemon and honey would always soothe an inflamed throat.

And then I hear a sound. My father is approaching, with his specialty, a lemon drink in a glass. He always knew how to add love to an action, sometimes with a chuckle or a joke, and in this case in a different way.

I can still hear the teaspoon tinkling inside the glass as he walks down the hall towards my room. A bright bell of hope is being delivered right to my thirsty lips and parched throat.

Longing lives in the seasons of the heart.

 

And now?

My parents are long departed and the lemons are green.
Except for one. It’s just turning yellow, and juts out at the top of the tree. It will be hard to reach.

The sun draws me out. Sun has a way of saying ‘you can do it!’ I reach the tree and manage to steer my hand through the spiky twigs. I grasp and break off the lemon.

The lemon drink is soothing. I drink it gladly.

 

Then I realise that something is missing: it’s the tinkling, the love.

 

Do you have seasons of longing, for something that
eludes you?

 

How can you satisfy such longing?

 

You might like to try these three steps:

1. Write down what you want. (In my case, it was lemons)
2. Go deeper and imagine what you really need. (For me it was comfort and love)
3. Ask yourself, ‘How can I meet that need?’ – even imperfectly.

I couldn’t magic up the presence of someone who would care for me on this day, but I could supply the love through remembering and writing, letting the memories trickle through and tinkle into my heart. I could sing madrigals of mothering and cantatas of compassion to myself.

I could gently doze, while listening to the song of the tui floating above the dry sound of wind in the leaves. I could sip the comfort of ‘This too shall pass.’ And then I could pick up my pen and slowly write to you, my tribe of seasonal observers, and celebrate this, my 100th newsletter.

 

 

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all
living beings;
Radiating kindness
over the entire world.

—The Buddha

This post is an excerpt from the Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.


28 Comments

  1. Sherry

    Just beautiful, Juliet! I know the feeling! My lemon tree is finally giving forth. Wish I could bring you some lemons! Lots going on in the heavens now astrologically. I figure I’m going thru a big testing period…one that is as annealing as it is ripening. Dr Mario Martinez who is appearing in Auckland 20 July! has discovered from his intensive research into cultural aspects of the mind body phenomenon that mid-life starts at 90!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thanks Sherry. Lucky you to have a productive lemon tree. Ours will be a few weeks away yet.

      Reply
  2. Ruth

    Thanks for the reminder “this too shall pass”.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Ruth, thank you, and may it be true for you.

      Reply
  3. Penny

    Oh the emotions and memories these lemons evoke. This is such a beautiful and touching post, Juliet.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Penny, it’s amazing how fruit and other food can evoke so much, isn’t it? Thank you for your appreciation.

      Reply
  4. Hilary

    I love lemons and use them all the time today and it was wonderful in South Africa when I had my own tree … loved it! I use lemon juice, honey and some spice now when I need a throat cure, or just a good knock-out punch for my lingering cold … works wonders. Can quite understand why you’re awaiting your ripening lemon tree …

    We didn’t have lemons as a kid … but lots of other love and warm healthy drinks were on hand – cheers Hilary

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Hilary, thanks so much for taking the trouble to post. Here in NZ, everyone has their own tree, and you too in South Africa! So you know the value of lemons when you have a cold.

      Reply
  5. Margie McCallum

    I love your 100th post, Juliet. It s so gentle, evocative and full of self love. So good, too, to look underneath our longings to discover the fundamental need; then we can so often satisfy it. It moves us beyond longing!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Margie, thank you for your lovely comment, and understanding.

      Reply
  6. kim gregory

    I am always struck how child like I can become when I am unwell. Thank you for sharing and hoping you are feeling much better xx

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Kim, I’m sure that is a pretty common response. I’m doing better now, thank you.

      Reply
  7. Ruth

    Hope you are feeling much better by the time you read this Juliet! A really beautiful post. Memories of my grandmother encouraging my mum about ‘this too shall pass’ – she picked it up while nursing in WWI. I enjoy your sense of how we can connect with and draw on such rich and sustaining memories and love – that’s so true! And learning to find ways to care for ourselves, gleaning from such loving histories, is a wonderful skill.
    Congratulations too on the 100th post – it’s always a treat to find your thoughts!
    Sending you lemony best/warm wishes

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Ruth, how lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your lemony good wishes. What a lovely memory of your grandmother, and fancy that saying going back to WWI! 100 posts is very surprising; it’s amazing what can happen in small parcels over a period of time. I’m doing well thank you.

      Reply
  8. Dana Leigh Lyons

    Celebrating your 100th newsletter, Juliet, and all the inspiration and solace it has brought others. Also wishing you an easeful yet speedy recovery.

    I love how you infused this post with your mother, father, nurturance, care, memories. I also adore hearing stories of healing foods–and how their healing power has to do with far more than the food itself.

    You capture all of this–and the nuances of memory, longing, wanting and needing–so beautifully. Sending a tinkling of love.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Dana, I can hardly believe I’ve written 100! I seem to be on a theme of healing foods right now, something you know a lot about too. Thank you for your beautiful comment and the tinkling of love – much appreciated.

      Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Thank you Sue, I’m glad you enjoyed the words.

      Reply
  9. Denise Poyner

    I enjoyed your article. I am longing for peace. In the busy day to day experiences I live, I am often caught out with how engaged in my living I am. I am currently very aware of feeling disempowered, and making my recovery. I often need a sense of the native bush, that evokes a peaceful sense of things for me. The native bush is where I went as a child when the family dynamic was frought with psychological disturbance of many kinds. Today I have walked on a pathway of trees and native flax . I felt that peace and beauty come over me. That helps me to ground a bit.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Denise, I can understand that longing for peace, and how it can be found in our native bush. I love being in the bush too, and find it grounding. Thank you, and may you find peace.

      Reply
  10. Ann Brown

    Hi Juliet, Congratulations on your 100th newsletter, and I hope you’re feeling better.
    I so love your writing, I even found my mouth watering at the talk of lemons.
    And the tinkling of the glass as your father brought you his special lemon drink.
    Such beautiful words, and I love how you write “letting the memories trickle through and tinkle into my heart.”
    Sending blessings of comfort and joy to you! 🙂

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Ann, thanks you for this lovely appreciation. I’m feeling much better now, thank you.

      Reply
  11. Coral Pureau

    Aah Dear Juliet, thank you so much for Longing for Lemons. I try to not delve deeply into my memories because I don’t like to get all mushy and cry cos I’m tough. Big girls don’t cry and all those other myths!!! I love lemons. The family loves the lemon, honey and garlic brew for coughs, colds. I am chief brewer of this elixir passed down from my mother and do my kids moan when they run out. Mum died last year and I’ve just realised through reading your post why I’ve been so moody the past few days. I miss my Mum! She’s not here to look after me, well, not in the flesh, and I’m nearly 62 for crying out loud. So anyway, looking forward to bags of lemons and drinks with just a wee dram of whiskey to keep the chills at bay you know. Cheers to memories of hot drinks and color-in books!

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Coral, thank you for sharing your memories, chief lemon elixir brewer! I know just what you mean about missing your mother and the comfort she would bring you. It’s amazing how food can carry such a charge of memories.

      Reply
  12. Gallivanta

    Congratulations on your 100th newsletter, and a big thank you to your web assistant for making it easier to post a comment.
    Your lemons bring sunshine to my day. When I was in my late teens my father would bring me lemon juice and honey with a drop of whisky when I was unwell. I loved it then. These days I am happier without the whisky!
    My daughter has been telling me about her longing for love and comfort. I can tell her of your post. It may be reassuring to her.

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Gallivanta, what lovely memories of your father bringing you his special lemon drink when you were sick. We all have times of longing for love and comfort. I hope your daughter finds what she is longing for. Thank you.

      Reply
  13. Christine Johannis

    Hi Juliet, Your words have brought up memories of the beautiful enriching blackcurrant drinks my mother used to make for the winter. Very fond memories. Thank you

    Reply
    • Juliet Batten

      Blackcurrant drinks sound delicious Chris. Thank you.

      Reply

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