If you could taste sunshine, what would it taste like? Yellow things – lemon and butter and pineapple – and green things: cut grass, new figs. That’s what sunflower honey tastes of.
It’s the colour of sunshine too – a thick yolky honey that’s sweet as summer, bright as the shades on a child’s drawing. I’m tempted to daub my fingers with it and smudge a cartoon smily face at the top right hand corner of a page.
I open the jar today to spread on bread for breakfast, as the sun streams through the window.
But perhaps it’s wasted on me today. I wonder whether I should instead cap the jar shut quickly, and store up that rich yellow stuff like a small bright solar cell in my cupboard, laid up against the winter days when there will be nothing streaming through the window except a thin mean draught. That’s the magic of honey – that it can bloom when the flowers that produced it have wilted, a taste blossoming on the tongue and the plate when the tall nodding plants who gave up their nectar for it have wizened, sagged and been cut down.
I don’t need this honey today – to taste sunshine I can go and stand in my garden, face up to the rays, breathing deeply of the chlorophyll around me. It seems unbelievable this morning, but a day will come when the Balkan winter will take its stranglehold – on the garden, on my muscles, on the movement through the city. That’s when I’ll open up the cupboard and hold out my crock of sunflower honey gold like proof. Summer was here, and this is how summer can come again.