winter lemons

Our first winter here in Michigan has been arctic. We live for the days when we can salute the sun, and it salutes back. Some brave days, we venture outdoors in our woolens and knits, layering, then layering some more and reinforcing our boots with plastic bags and extra socks. The wind bites and when the weather is above or near freezing we walk around the neighborhood scaling mountain peaks of snow along the streets, sidewalks and driveways that are resistant to melt or even shrink.

Nature is clever, providing some of the most beautiful sun ray filled fruit during the bleakest months of the year. To hold a plump buxom citrus in your palm is to hold a miniature sun. We call them sun eggs, thanks to a lovely little storybook by Elsa Beskow we received from Grammy at Christmas. These sun eggs burst with each cutting blade, and we squeeze out as much of the juice as we can, drop by drop. Then we find the leftover meaty parts clinging to the edges with our teeth, though with the more sour fruits we squeeze out another drop or two with our fingertips. My girls don’t seem to mind the acrid sting of the lemons, biting into them as if they were the sweetest orange. Only after a few munches, they finally decide the summation of each bite has become too much sourness to handle. With our liquid sunshine, we have had lemonade, curd, custard, savory sauces for vegetables and meat, and ironically, ice cream.

As our powdered snow has turned to ice, we are experiencing yet another burst of freezing temperatures and winds. But during the few days leading up to it, the sun has filled our home more often and for longer stretches of time, minute by minute; birdsong was heard and praised on our brisk and hastened walks; winter projects are being finished; plans are being made for yet another trial at a summer garden; and we are full of anticipation for the changes we know are on their way. So we continue watching for spring to come, inch by inch.

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