I’m sitting at the breakfast nook table. To my left sits a purple plum torte. It looks amazing. To my right, a grapefruit vodka and tonic with extra lime. Refreshing. Behind me, the hot water canner boils. In it the final jars of sweet pickles process (16 jars total!). The scent is a mixture of vinegary sweetness with an undertone of garlic from the roasted cherry tomatoes and garlic that I just pulled out of the oven. They’re part of the pearl couscous with olives and roasted tomatoes that I’m making to go with dinner. This is the life, yes?
And, yet…I feel a bit melancholy. I think it started a couple of weeks ago when the new crop apples appeared at the local fruit stand. This week the apples and tomatoes outnumber the peaches and plums. Sigh. The transition has begun.
I’ve noticed it in the mornings as I head to work. The light is different. It’s hard to explain…the late summer, early fall light. It can still pack a wallop of heat, as was proven earlier this week when it was in the 90’s. But…it’s different. Think of a painting with a freshly painted vibrant blue sky. The painter then dips his brush in water and washes that blue out. That’s the light I’m talking about.
It’s cooler in the mornings and the evening. And it’s certainly getting dark earlier and light later. Last night we were sitting on the patio after dinner chatting and dusk seemed to fall very quickly.
Here’s the thing: I love fall. I can’t definitively say that it’s my favorite season, because spring has such a pull on me (crocus, daffodil and tulip), but the two run neck and neck. Fall always makes me want to nest and cook comfort food. Can’t go wrong with that.
The problem is the transition. And, perhaps, the fact that summer is often a fleeting thing in the Pacific Northwest…late to arrive, early to leave. Which, for an unwelcome house guest, is fine. But summer!….warm days, cute little dresses, bbq’s. And the produce! Melons from Hermiston, peaches and tomatoes from Yakima, local corn and green beans. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. I glut myself annually while making freezer jam and pickles and the like so that we can experience a little taste of summer during the darkness of winter.
Anyways, the transition: when the sky washes out and my potted plants begin to decline and the hydrangeas rust and leaves begin to fall I find myself mourning the passing of summer. We often have beautiful weather in September, but it’s not late-July, early-August weather. I feel compelled to eat even more fruit (I’m averaging a hefty personal-size watermelon a week, in addition to a cantaloupe and assorted peaches, pluots and nectarines) and to bake even more fruit-based desserts in an attempt to get my fill.
But, I never get my fill. I simply have to shore myself up with the knowledge that summer will come again. And, pretty soon the crinkle and crackle of leaves will distract me from my summer pining and I’ll make applesauce and apple crisp and start craving eggnog. Not such a terrible thing.