When the days begin to shorten at the end of August I start to panic. I try to grab onto everything around me—the warmth of the sun, the green of the leaves, the smoke of the grill, the length of the days. I gather as much as I can and and hold it tight to my chest, hoping to take it with me into the dark and cold that lie ahead.
Then fall knocks. I ignore it. But fall opens the door anyway, and a cold breeze comes in, and yellow leaves too, and suddenly there are soups and stews and sweatpants and even though it the sun is barely there, I am warm and full again.
The weekends are largely made up of soccer games, some in gorgeous 70 degree weather that makes me wish they would last all day, and some in rainy 50 degree weather that makes me wish the boys had chosen basketball instead, but which also create a certain comradery with friends and family braving the rain along with me. Dumping the rain off our umbrellas, stomping our feet, watching the sky to see what it might do next. Some days, I forget the game for the green of the field, rimmed with autumn trees and white barns. Instead I watch the clouds boil and roll above like paint blooming on paper.
In between chatting and cheering, my mind slips back to that pot of chili in the crockpot on my counter. The game ends. (Big cheer!)
The boys come home and strip off their muddy clothes in the garage, and soon there is the hum of the washing machine and the steamy sound of water running for showers. There is a warm evening cozying up to Kevin while we watch football, the boys drifting in and out until it’s time for chili, and then apple crisp, and then board games or movies or more football. We lean all the way into cozy, knowing that we earned it.
That’s what fall is to me.
Fall is pulling a pan of enchiladas out of the oven one night and scalloped potatoes the next. Fall is gingerbread, apple crisp, and peanut butter cookies. Fall is the feel of lying on a dock after a day of chasing waves. It is hectic mornings and evenings bumping up to peaceful days of reading and writing and watching the leaves change color outside my kitchen window. Fall is a time to gather the thoughts that feed my soul.
I wouldn’t trade a single day of fall for one of summer, in the same way I wouldn’t trade a day of summer for fall. They are two of the most perfect things in the world.
But February? February can go boil its head.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Butternut squash gnocchi with fried sage
Chicken noodle soup