In three consecutive days, I was in three different countries. And in each country, I ate delicious fruit: dense, creamy mango in Mexico City, crisp, juicy cherries in Los Angeles and fragrant, acidic strawberries in Leiden (Netherlands). There is almost nothing I love more than a perfect piece of fruit; I sought these specimens out, searching for them in markets and (to be honest) my mother's kitchen from amongst many other fruits. You see, finding good fruit is one of my favorite pastimes, and something I have become quite adept at.
This little tale of three cities speaks to more, however, than my own fun in the market, or even the skill we can hone in choosing the best and most serving things (a skill that I think lays at the heart of any practice, yoga or other). Rather, it really hit me this week that I was eating three fruits, which we don't normally think of as being perfect in the same month, just days apart. Obviously, I could enjoy them this way because I was in different places on each of those days, and obviously I am getting at the seasonality of ingredients that is particular to each individual place and climate. But I also want to call attention to the fact that it is sometimes really difficult to stay connected to the world around you, to the seasons, to the crops coming from the earth.
If anything, the rhetoric of seasonality has made this even more difficult. Magazines arrive in late February or early March bearing the heading "The Bounty of Spring" and tempting you with lavish spreads of asparagus, fava beans, and green garlic. But in most parts of the country, such crops are literally months away from arriving; the ground might even still have a covering of chilly frost! I had never really thought about this until I moved from California, the land that sets the trends for these types of things (ironic, as so many of the magazines touting spring peas in February are based on the east coast!). But after living across the country, I now realize that there is often a disconnect between what people tell you should be in season and what really is. This can be frustrating; like when you see a glossy spring bounty and only have cellared root vegetables. But I am trying to suggest, by tempting you with mangoes, strawberries, and cherries at their absolute peaks, it can also be incredibly rewarding to really pay attention and wait until the moment when your favorite foods will be at their most delicious.