A week with a lemon tree

There is a curiosity which the quotidian awakens in me whenever I eat – known, or unknown – whenever I take a camera to hand, and often while thinking – on diffuse nothings, or questions of depth. There is the simplicity, on one hand, no matter how deep my thoughts might go, and there is the world of implications in that which appears simple and banal. A lemon is an example.

As common as these Asia natives appear to be in food markets throughout the world during the last half a century, regardless of distance between market and the soils with the trees where they grow, the citrus limon Linnaeus Osbeck has certain qualities which we seldom consider when taking them from the wooden bins onto a shopping cart. Not only the inherent properties of the lemon, and its specific variety might escape us. There is an array of cultural and geographical symbolisms we have attributed to, or recognized in them throughout centuries, well beyond their culinary and cleaning applications.

Color, shape, acidity level, all seem to have some meaning or inspiration.

  • due to their sour taste, they have been associated with negative feelings – jealousy, frustration, disappointment
  • because the tree, containing both male and female parts, is able to produce fruits consistently and generously throughout the year, It is also associated with abundance, love, and fertility
  • in color it is thought to convey hope, happiness, and vitality
  • juice, pulp and rind are used to revitalize the body, thus symbolizing healing and cleansing, physically and spiritually
  • because the lemon tree is so fertile, it is believed to bring luck to the home near it, success, and healthy relationships, particularly when it stands on healthy soil, and in an area with plenty of sunlight
  • in ancient Rome, lemons represented higher status in society, due to their rarity at the time, its scent, taste, and its uses for healing and cooking
  • different meanings are applied to the appearance of lemons in dreams
  • in modern language, feelings of love are metaphorically described as sweet, while jealousy, frustration, and disappointment are characterized as sour and bitter
  • because the lemon looks attractive on the outside but it is actually sour and bitter inside, it is seen as reference to deception
  • to receive a lemon means that the item is not as good as it appeared to be
  • to make the best out of a situation, it is suggested to make lemonade (sweetness) out of lemons (bitterness)

listed references to lemons found on Symbolism and Metaphor

And after a week at my sister’s house, spending plenty of time with, and around a lemon tree, my curiosity for the lemon promises to bring about further thoughts.

Large lemon from that tree, over 5 inches long, by about 3.5 inches

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