D recently e-mailed from Melbourne that mandarins have come into season and how the smell of one peeled by her co-worker instantly transported her home to Singapore and to Chinese New Year. She would buy a bagful on the way home and she would savour every last bit of them, starting right from the smell.
It made me feel guilty, there are mandarins here almost all year round, pale orange ones from China, glossy deep orange ones from Australia and little green ones from Thailand that look like they are unripe but are really so sweet beneath the green skin. I've taken them for granted like I've taken the smell of oranges for granted. I'm guilty of cutting to the chase where I thought enjoying an orange meant eating it and forgetting that enjoying an orange starts from the moment you sink a finger nail into the skin, prise off a bit of it to peel and release the scent. That to fully enjoy an orange means includes appreciating its smell.
Rupert has also reminded me of that lesson of late. I share a bit of whatever fruit I'm eating with the dogs. He has learnt very fast about oranges. The instant I sink a finger nail into the zesty skin and the faintest whiff of an orange is released, he goes into paroxysms of excitement, he starts racing round the room frenetically in the anticipation of a sweet, juicy wedge. Such joy for a piece of fruit. Everything is Disneyland to Rupert, L once said of him. It is a good approach to life, I guess. Another one of those life's lessons you learn from your dog.
Yesterday, the mandarin turned out to be a little sour. Queeni spat her slice out and looked disgusted as only she can. I don't know where HRH picked up her fussy habits from. Must be a royalty thing. Rupert rapidly moved in to clean up what she didn't want. I guess this is why we have two dogs. :)