Tuesday, 28 September 2010

What season is it?

I have lost a sense of time. Not the hours in the day - and my goodness they slip away quicker than I can check a clock face - and not the days, because at some point the world sinks into darkness and my eyes close. I know the difference between day and night. Not that time, but the time that surrounds me, that is in soil and trees, that tells me when things grow, change, fall away, drop to the ground. People tell me it's coming winter, but the centigrade flashes 33 at the ferryside and the wind is warm enough to make you wish you wore one layer less of clothing.

It's disorienting, and a bit distressing, this out of step. I feel not all is right with the world. I'm not exactly a farm girl, and I don't have much sympathy with hunting country folk, not since one held a fist at my head, but I miss the way I took the kids past the farm on the way home. Maybe once a fortnight, April to October, we'd collect a wheelbarrow, look over the hedges to find the forks stuck in the ground, and know we'd found the signpost for potatoes.

I'm not alone. As we gaze at the fat round red tomatoes and wonder aloud whether lychees have finished for the season, the children ask if the blackberries are done. I don't answer. I bite my lip and mourn the damsons. And the jam making. And the fallen apples in the orchard. Even the ritual midnight pan burning, when I over reach myself with the chutney wonder of the day; when I thought, just one more experiment, this time with cloves and nutmeg.

I miss all that. Out here, on the limb of an island with an elbow poking into a China sea, I have no sense when apples ripen, or when the baking potatoes are best. I am cut off, left out. Lost. I look for replacements, because there are plenty. We have ripe round pomellos, bananas, pears like a fragrant ice sorbet held in shape by a pale green skin. We have imported California plums, kiwi, and grapes from I don't know where. But I don't have late summer raspberries, orchard apples, and the expectation of sharp frosted sprouts. I don't look at a calendar and count, sweetcorn, parsnips, cabbage. And I don't have Squirrel climbing fruit trees, Shark with red rubbed lips, and Tiger, with soil under her fingernails.


sharon said...

Could be worse Grit - Christmas is coming and here the temps will be in the high 30s or more and it will be the height of Summer. It will always seem strange to me but that's the way it is. Just takes a bit of time to really enjoy the differences.

Deb said...

So it sounds like poor Tiger isn't the only one feeling a bit out of sorts. Have some chocolate, Grit. Everything is better with chocolate.

Big mamma frog said...

Was trying to get kids to write letters to our friends in Australia. Suggested they asked how their summer was. Then realised that friends would have just had winter. Kids were totally confused "What you mean that they have winter in July and barbecues for Christmas?"

Funny isn't it, what you get used to, how much your whole rhythm of living relies on the seasons.

Hang in there :)

Nora said...

I was disoriented in California, so I can imagine how it is for you. Will they have Christmas trees there? Or will you have to have a little palm tree with lights in it. I do wonder how you all manage so well with the culture shock. Am I Who?

Moohaa said...

I'm sorry Grit. Want us to send you a care package? Won't be the same as England, but it might help!!