Tomorrow is the first day of autumn.
The temperature has already dropped. Women are wearing tights. And that post-work promise of a few bright hours of sun, for lazy strolls and long runs, is quickly turning into a rushed dash home to grasp anything that resembles daylight. It's getting hard to keep up the summer fight...
So here is my promise to the new season.
For the rest of September, we will throw on boots, and crunch through the golden grass, as we remember the salvation of a fall weekend in childhood spent in an orchard, a pumpkin patch or a pile of leaves. Clear blue Saturdays will be savored. We will brush our fingers through the flannel in our drawers and take notice of the speckled corn husks in the markets. We'll accept it.
When October rolls around, we'll miss the smell of barbecues at dusk, but smile anyways, because somewhere down the street a fireplace is burning midday. We'll get crazy at a Halloween soul shakedown in the woods, and make pies from the dozens of apples picked on a cool weekend. The hot cider will get spiked with whiskey and cold fingers will get tucked into someone's jean pockets.
By November, we'll celebrate. There will be big a raucous group of people and a birthday party, in an orchard, or a vineyard or a bar. Rainy days will be the hardest days to wake up for, and so we'll complain and grumble, but carry on anyway with endless cups of tea, warm bowls of soup and a hot toddy to tuck us in before bed. We'll finally pack away those summer dresses for good, and wear wool over our tights.
We'll make plans, and start counting back the days on the calendar, thinking about what we did, what we're going to do, and how to make sure we got it all in before the last good day of the year.
"The Sweet Bourbon Pecan Spud" is a sweet potato cupcake topped with a bourbon pecan buttercream and a maple glaze pecan on top. The cake is light and fluffy and surprisingly, not overmoist. The buttercream is nutty, with a touch of vanilla bean and a boozy kick. Tis' the season for gourds, for roots and for nuts, and in my kitchen, I say the more the merrier.
Autumn to me will be for driving around the windy roads of Westchester County, top down and heat up, as the criss-crossing tree branches above bear new gold on their fingertips. It will be for pulling wool socks over cold knees, an Aran sweater over the fading tan and lined leather gloves kept close enough in reach for the hands that holds the chill a little longer everyday. And it will be for the dusty records of Neil Young, crackling alongside the candles on the deck that no longer keep the bugs away, but rather shed a little warmth as the moon rises over the lawn.
Although summer is over, I think I'm finally ready to make the most of fall. Like I said, it's all about acceptance and promises.
So, how will you celebrate the season?