My favourite addiction is in season. A few weeks ago, I felt the familiar tingle in my tummy as I caught my annual first glimpse of the litchi. Of course it was the Middle Eastern variation, which thankfully turned out to be exactly the same as those in Africa. And as always, this first sighting is so bitter-sweet – the excitement gets quickly pushed to the side as I jump ahead in my mind to the end of the (sometimes so short) season when I’ve had too much of as good thing and am just left with unmet strong longing.
Year in and year out, I wait so patiently for the start of summer and its delicious summer fruits. But the litchi, in particular, can be temperamental and sometimes appears for just a few precious weeks before vanishing. You never quite know how long the season will last and so as I busy myself eating as many of them as possible, quietly contemplating that I could easily live on them and devising thoughts about freezing and preserving them, I silently hope that maybe this year the season will go on at least a little longer. Maybe not all year long for “to everything its season”. But the truth is that no matter how many I eat, I am never satisfied and can always eat more. Litchis are my rolos: do I love anyone enough to give them my last? Fortunately I do, but it requires hard work, focus and discipline.
Many times I have debated about the litchi shell. Does the peeling of the litchi play an integral role in the experience or would a bowl of unpeeled, de-seeded litchis be appreciated even more? And though I fantasize about the prospect of endless effortless litchis presented to me, I think that the peeling aka hard work contributes to the end enjoyment of the succulent, juicy, sweet white flesh. Things that take work and involve peeling away a layer and going deeper are infinitely more satisfying than the quick fix option. The litchi’s secret and beauty is its concealment in the shell, and it requiring a little effort before its revealed and enjoyed. So too with many things in life.
Ah, I knew I could find a life lesson using a litchi. So, hurray the litchi is still in season. And I am pacing myself, as I only have a few to my name right now. I’ve already thought ahead to when I will make my way to the market to replenish stocks. But for now, I intend to be present and savour what I do have. And as with life, rather to have lived and loved and be left wanting more than to have never loved at all.