End of January 2016
What’s the end of January good for? I gather up tax forms. I get estimates from contractors for spring construction projects. I gaze at the pictures in the seed catalogues that come in the mailbox. I order plants in the hope that spring will eventually come. Seed catalogues come in January, just like toy catalogues come in November. The ebb and flow of the mail makes me aware of the seasons. It reminds me of raisin season.
I discovered raisin season in Mississippi in the 70’s one late spring day when I wanted to make hot cross buns for Easter. I went into the local food store, in the south, we called them Jitney’s, and asked where the raisins were. Coming from a home on the range, and next to a major truck route, it seemed like a logical thing to want.
The indignant manager looked at me like I was from an alien culture and said, “Lady, you have to buy your raisins during raisin season.”
“When is raisin season?” I asked, puzzled by his shortness of temper. “In Oklahoma I can get them all year.”
“Raisin season is in the fall when the harvest is over,” he said.
“I thought they were dried so I could have them all year.”
He showed me his back as he went down the aisle back to his onion stacking.
I’ve endured many seasons since then, and enjoy the seasonal nature of things. I’ve observed the season of toys, the season of housewares, the season to buy sheets and blankets, and many other markers of the passing of time. Observing the seasons reminds me of the rituals I need to observe as I participate in the life of my family and my community. I think my favorite are the seasons of the church and its celebrations. Important things defining my existence and giving grace to my days.