those perfectly little bright orange orbs that you can pop right into your mouth. bitter and bright. like a lemonorange piece of sunshine. a taste that stays with you for awhile.
i've even been know to sneak into people's yards to steal kumquats from their tree, trying not to get caught and have to give up my first born child or anything crucial like that.
their genus is fortunella. like me.
my life's most major decisions often revolve around split second assumptions of something that has always seemed to be true, then suddenly comes into existence. my beloved #1 kittie, toby dammit, came to me that way. i was buying a coffee and croissant one morning, and a tiny few-week old kitten was offered as a...you know...freebie. i thought, why not? tucked him into the pocket of my overalls and we were utterly bound together.
many good friendships i've had began with the immediate assumption that we've somehow always been good friends, and so... we are.
and, as i've mentioned: i always wanted a kumquat tree. maybe without exactly knowing it.
when i first walked up to my house (my first house, my sweet lover of a house, the one that keeps me safe at nights) the large kumquat tree in the front yard was at its fullest abundant bounty. instead of going into the house, i went right up to the kumquat tree and set one free.
walking through the front door, with the sharp flowery smell of the kumquat in my hand, i looked around and thought, "huh."
that's it. not love at first sight, not excited or nervous. not "ohmigod if i don't get this one i'll cry forever", just "huh."
the house was already mine, you see. the moment i stood there, i knew. i walked right into the kitchen, washed the kumquat in what was to be soon my everyday sink, and ate the little thing, seeds and all. somehow that little act of domesticity was all i needed. i was home.
some people believe they are keepers of cats, they feel a burning urge to help as many as possible. some people are collectors, casting themselves as the keeper of things and all their connections within. older people return to the past and experience themselves as keepers of "the good old days", time that will never be again, once they are gone.
holden caulfield wanted to catch the children and keep them from growing up too much too fast.
i...am the keeper of the kumquats.
for days now i have been harvesting scrubbing chopping seeding cooking baking foodprocessing kumquats.
i have made buckets of jam, kumquat bread, kumquat puree, and candied kumquats.
i had a girlfriend over and we both sliced kumquats for five hours until we went cross eyed and saw orange blobs wherever we looked.
all of the recipes i've found call for half a cup of kumquats puree, a pound of chopped kumquats. Ha! a pound is for pussies! what i need is a recipe that starts with a wheelbarrow of kumquats. because no matter how many i pick, there are still just as many on the tree.
i still adore my kumquat tree, i can't get enough of my own kumquat jam (suprisingly good on chicken...!) and no matter how the citrus juice burns every little puncture wound on my fingers from the thorns on the kumquat tree, it's all good. because i know my place in the world.
keeper of the kumquat tree.
(now will someone come over and help me eat all of them? please? no, seriously.)