It's wintertime here in Pasadena, which means I am blessed with day after day with cleansing sunshine, bracing wind, and brooding mountains. A typical Pasadena winter day looks like this:

The Meyer lemons and clementines drip with juice, and the farmers' market is flush with them. While the dates have reached their caramel-y state of perfection, the new crop of walnuts and pecans has just arrived; the combination means that it is time to bake. But even as the winter harvest of goodies lures me towards the kitchen, something very special is happening outside, something even more special than the glorious mountains.

The citrus trees are blooming. The air near a lemon, orange, or any member of that happy family pulses with the cleanest and most cheerful scent that exists on this planet.

All of this natural and culinary wonder begins right now, right when I'm in my mad rush to get grading, planning, and related paperwork done before winter break. I have a daily debate over whether to spend my time in the kitchen or outside, when I really need to have my butt glued to a chair in a coffeeshop with a stack of papers in front of me.

I have hope though. It's only four days until break. Four days.

The mountains have lasted millenia: I think they can wait for me for four days. The citrus trees, though more transitory, have some time left in them too. It's going to be okay.


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