You know what I find fascinating?
Citrus fruits, actually. Citrus fruits are hesperidia— funny little berries with tough, leathery skin and a heavenly, poetic scent.
There is something thrilling about it being cold and somehow knowing that it's during the dark and cold time of year where these magnificent, aromatic, sun-filled wonders yield their fruit and keep people a little bit healthier and more packed with vitamin C-, just in time for cold and flu season.
Which is why at some point in time, the good little boys and girls of the Western world got an orange or a tangerine in their Christmas stocking, by the way. To think that kids didn't feel totally gypped by that… ah, it does make one feel materialistic and old.
(Because as much as I do like tangerines and other citrus, I think I'd be pissed off to find someone left me a $5.99 crate of clementines as my sole present under the tree, you know?)
It all started with the Body Shop, really.
Every single time I go by, there is one scent that allures me like no other: it's the scent called "Satsuma".
I'd always assumed it was some sort of exotic whatchamacalit bit, along the lines of their Ananya oil; something that probably had some deep roots in another tradition but sounded rather made-up and whose top, middle and base notes were musks of all kinds. Incidentally, Ananya is actually Sanskrit, and it means devoted or peerless, and sounds personally objectionable to use as a foofy perfume name. But I digress.
Anyway, there I was walking the other day and I had to stop in because this pregnant nose of mine was yelling very loudly "SATSUMA!!! SATSUMA!!!! STOOOOOP!! I WANT IT!" because my nose has become like a three-year old. And that's when I read closely and realized:
A Satsuma is a type of mandarin orange.
No shit? That simple?
No Sanskrit (possibly just poorly pronouced Japanese), and no musk, the Satsuma fragrance is actually pretty much all citrus, and its smell is so powerfully happy to my senses that I've been abusing the lotion I bought from them just so I can have that burst of happiness in these cold, cold days.
I wish I could find somewhere in this vast internets of ours a little poem that went along with the yearly Odwalla Tangerine Juice campaign, or a poem by García Lorca about a boy who's about to be killed but picks beautiful lemons off the trees and tosses them into a stream, until it looked like flowing gold.
But I think I'll satisfy my yearning for something far more beautiful than I can produce by eating a tangerine and slathering my hands once again with my happy Satsuma body butter, and imagining the sharp, tart beauty of a lovely wintry fruit making my mouth and my body happy.
Actually, I believe that the reason people used to get citrus in their Christmas stocking goes back to the days before there was refrigerated transport. The only time of the year that citrus would survive being shipped from the warm climes where it grows to the great white north was in the winter.
It’s the same reason that you’re only supposed to eat shellfish in months that have an “r” in them. Shellfish could only be reliably transported inland in cold weather, so May, June, July and August were out.
Clementines are and will always be Christmas to me. I love having a box of them around at home and work!
Thanks, Gilahi, for the clarification :o) I will also keep your words in mind whenever I eat shellfish again (mmm… shellfish).
LiLu– Aren’t they just the happiest little things?