taste fix

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The durian, rambutan and jackfruit (pictured in order above) re-entered my life last week… and happily so. They were acquired on a foray to check out the new Asia Supermarket that recently opened nearby.

“Lucky me!”, I thought to myself as I plonked them into my shopping basket, barely containing my glee at the acquisition. Here were fruits that I grew up devouring back in Malaysia. Unusual fruits to the western palate, to say the least. Tastes I have not experienced in a long while.

Oh, and what taste explosions they are – “jungly” might just fit the description best. All three have a certain primordial quality about them. As each went into my mouth I was instantly transported in my mind to the jungles I would hike and camp in in my teen years.

Like many, taste and smell will activate memories for me. But I also started thinking about how we take things for granted when something is readily available… and miss them when they are not. Aye, a very human conundrum.

I’m not talking about the “good old days” here. It is more about the appreciation of where we are… at the time we are in it.

How often have we walked past a place not giving it a second glance? “It’s there. It will always be there…”, we tell ourselves. Then, one day it is gone. And what makes us miss it is that we really did not take the time to take it all in while it was present… or were present ourselves in the moment. Too often a case of “missing through regret”.

Of course, this goes for the people in our lives as well. The family, friends, colleagues and lovers… who once were.

It made me ask how often do we actually take in the full experience when we are in it. Savoring the moment. How often do we let a moment slide just because we tell ourselves, “There will be another time…” ? Or perhaps we allow it to escape because it really straddles the spectrum of the mundane and is not some spectacular extravaganza.

It is the little things that often mean the most. We’ve heard these words before. I’ve got news for you – it’s true. I try to remind myself of that everyday.

As I devoured the fruit at hand and thought about how I’ve missed the taste… I switched mode halfway and started savoring the experience at present unfolding around me. It took a taste from long ago to remind me to do that. Here I was eating these fruit under the canopy of my gazebo in Fresno, California… and sharing the experience with a few friends new to these exotic taste – now in the present.

I love the memories these tastes conjured… but here was a whole new experience to take in. The furtive initial looks, the inquisitive sniffs… then the first bites and their diverse reactions (especially to the durian). Hardly spectacular and yes, straddling the mundane… perhaps… but it was THE moment and I took it.

So, I’m getting better at it… but there is still a ways to go.