To Cai King nothing epitomizes the change of seasons better than the perfume of orange blossoms in the Spring.
My daily commute takes me past miles of orange groves where I am privy to the ebb and flow of Mother Nature’s wardrobe changes, and where, for a few short weeks in April I am surrounded by the narcotic perfume of her orange blossoms. The smell of heaven! So I must admit I get a bit peevish when people say California lacks seasons. When what they really mean to say is we don’t look like the Walmart calendar photos of Fall or Winter. You know which ones I’m referring to: the quaint covered bridge in a blaze of autumnal glory or the cheeky cardinal dining alfresco (more like alfreeze-o) on the last of some crimson berries against a backdrop of a shimmering snowdrift. And while areas in California actually do have displays of traditional autumn & winter colors I am so thankful we are not constricted by these conventions. I once heard a Mexican-American author describe being baffled by the snowy scenes in the Christmas picture books her teacher read. For her, Christmas brought the bright orange and the glossy green colors of the citrus harvest. So can a season, feeling, or memory be defined by only one color palette?
For me, orange groves bring back memories of living in Fontana when I was a young girl. Fontana, the home of Kaiser Steel, is where my younger sister was born at Kaiser Hospital. My parents bought a new house on Granada Ave that was separated from an orange grove by a eucalyptus wind break. What fun we had climbing in the eucalyptus trees and playing in the orange grove. We used to get in trouble all the time when the citrus farmer would come and talk to my Dad about how we had to stay out of his grove. It was too irresistible for us–in winter when the smudge pots were used to keep the oranges from freezing they provided us with warmth and when the fields were being irrigated in other seasons, we could build dams and find hours of entertainment.