I’m hardly a creature of habit, but there are those things I often revisit that serve as a reminder to me that perhaps I should make a habit of paying more attention.
Simple things, like grapefruits and sunsets.
I remember many years ago as a towheaded New Englander those days my grandparents returned from their annual pilgrimage to Florida. They’d show up at our house with tanned faces, big smiles and sacks of fresh oranges and grapefruits. Lots of them. The ensuing mornings were filled with citrus delights. I remember gripping our serrated grapefruit spoons with bamboo handles like a tennis racket and digging into the pink flesh of the freshly cut grapefruit. Low riding in the chair, I could barely get my chin over the kitchen table, when squirt, the juices of the grapefruit freed by my spoon making perfect aim at my eyes. Ouch.
The best part was the end. After devouring the flesh and veins of the fruit, I’d grip the skin and squeeze it catching the remaining juice in that serrated spoon and slurping it down my throat, noises and all. I’d give my wrist a good workout until the fruit was spent. Finished. Until the next morning.
This grapefruit ritual would last until those sacks were empty, until the next year. The oranges? My mom would cut them into wedges and we’d bite into them folding our lips over the skins, making some kind of devious mask or muzzle, and then try to talk, yet mumble. My brother and I would then peel the skin from our teeth and and bite every last bit of the juicy orange.
Sunsets, on the other hand, my grandfather could not bring back from Florida. But with each orange and morning grapefruit, I did taste the sunshine—and the sunrise.
It wasn’t until I journeyed west did I begin to truly appreciate sunsets. I think we are just simply genetically programmed to stare in awe and be captivated by sunsets. Not all the time, though. Sure, our busy lives, to do lists, e-mail, tweets, appointments and addiction to LCD screens and smartphones, often interfere with our enjoyment of such simple pleasures; or leave us taking them for granted.
So we all can use a little reminder. Just how a few minutes, at the end of the day, can make all those busy moments earlier in the day, gently fade with the sun. And those reflections of color on clouds, sand or the glass windows of a high-rise, give our eyes a needed break from our LCDs, so we too, can shine and reflect.