teaching your mother to suck oranges

I was sitting across from Magnus watching him eat his dessert which was, that night, two cut-up oranges.

Magnus was really eating those oranges. He was so present in his enjoyment – he was sucking every drop of juice and had the fixed stare of someone experiencing great sensory pleasure.

I love that about children. They are great teachers in being fully present in the moment.

Watching Magnus eat an orange made me want to eat an orange, so I did. It was delicious. We sucked oranges companionably for a good ten minutes.

Messy fruit offers a particular pleasure, I think. Sensual and fun, all at once. It also demands presence of mind. You can’t suck oranges and read. You can’t chew out a mango and talk on the phone.

Messy fruit as zen practice? Why not.

At least we are free to suck oranges in public…unlike in this quotation about oranges in Cranford, by Elizabeth Gaskell:

“When oranges came in, a curious proceeding was gone through. Miss Jenkyns did not like to cut the fruit, for, as she observed, the juice all ran out nobody knew where, sucking [only I think she used some more recondite word] was in fact the only way of enjoying oranges; but then there was the unpleasant association with a ceremony frequently gone through by little babies; and so, after dessert, in orange season, Miss Jenkyns and Miss Matty used to rise up, possess themselves each of an orange in silence, and withdraw to the privacy of their own rooms to indulge in sucking oranges.” 

4 responses to “teaching your mother to suck oranges”

  1. Emmett and Florence have just enjoyed the particularly decadent dessert of a “whole mango each, really Mum”. Unfortunately while they were zen mango eating I was running the bath for the aftermath. You’re right though, kids are excellent “teachers of being fully present”.


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