Today on Facebook, a good friend who is caught in deep winter asked her friends for a story “about how outside their door the sun is warm, the leaves are green, and there’s fruit hanging in the trees.”
The first thing I wanted to tell her was that I recently learned a new word that I thought she would like: apricity. It means the warmth of the sun in winter. It comes from the Latin “apricus,” meaning “exposed to the sun.” And I bet more than one of you will have the same next question as I had: Does the word “apricot” come from that source, too? I thought it might, but it doesn’t. “Apricot” is more closely related to the word “precocious” — for the fruit’s reputation as an early ripener. (That’s a really truncated version of the story. The full, fascinating, nerd-appealing version can be found on the blog of Oxford University Press.)
I love that there is a word for just this thing: the warmth of the sun in winter. When I feel the sun on my face in January, I can’t help but be uplifted — eager, even — no matter what else might be going on. Spring will come again, it will!
Today, I need that hopeful feeling. I’ve gotten quite sick — with one thing after another — and have had to cancel my much anticipated trip to Europe. We can’t reschedule, because the main purpose of the trip is Stewart’s work, so he’ll go on without me. I’ve been sad about it. I don’t want to say too much about what’s going on with my health, because it has no place on a blog that has anything to do with food. But do you know the BRAT diet? It’s bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. That’s about all I can eat right now, and I’m not sure when that will change. This is not the kind of thing you can take to Paris. But perhaps there will be another time.
I would like to say to my friend that outside my door the sun is warm, the leaves are green, and there is fruit hanging in the trees: two kinds of lemons, limequats, a passel of Rangpur limes, and a single Valencia orange. (I need to replant that tree.) The view from where I sit is a sunsplashed hillside and our wide front deck, where I can see my own little apricot tree budding up and determining to bloom very soon. I also get to watch two of my four rescued pigeons — Haiku and Gem –basking in the sun in their aviary, which adjoins my bedroom window. They love apricity as much as anyone. They sit down and stretch out their wings to absorb as much of the winter sunlight as they can.
I would also like to thank my friend. By asking for a story, she helped me to pay closer attention to these early signs of spring on a day when I could otherwise be too inclined to focus on disappointment and worry. There is so much to be grateful for.