Friday, September 21, 2012
Notes from the Field: 21 days to Fall and Maple Pumpkin Fig Cupcakes
On the first of September, I put on my bikini and took a trip to the boat. The water was cold and the sun was weak. I cancelled my plans, a trip and a date, and relaxed in anticipation of what would come next.
On the fourth I slept late. I worked in my pajamas and made sense of my closet. I ran in the park and caught up with friends. On the fifth, there were butterflies. There was rose' and sidewalk pizza and a late night neighborhood bar. There was a kiss. Maybe two. On the eighth, I painted my nails one last coat of Clambake. A late summer storm rolled in and when it broke, we ate pulled pork and watermelon in the backyard. On the twelfth, I woke up and the air was cool. I got news, or what one could be a certain kind of gift, and I packed my bags and headed north to see what it was all about.
On the fifteenth I hopped the jitney east. The air was perfect and the sun was warm. I wore boots below bare knees and frolicked in sun scorched vineyards. We drank too much wine and donned captains' hats for dinner. We drank rum, lit sparklers and talked for hours at the table under the backyard tree strewn with streamers and lights. We slept with the windows open; we wore towels for warmth.
On the sixteenth, the beach past the Swordfish Club was dotted with hundreds of monarch butterflies. Where they were going, we had no idea, but they pushed past the wind down the beach and stopped for nobody. The water was warm and the waves crashed tall as we drank mimosas in our rolled up jeans.
On the seventeenth, I hopped the shuttle and took my next step. I worked hard during the day and settled into a new pace at night. I drank cold white wine and shame danced my way through a few good miles on a hotel treadmill in the middle of New England suburban slum.
Yesterday I woke up and cancelled my plans. I boarded the helicopter home, and as we approached New York, the clouds turned dark. We flew low and fast, as did my cab uptown, where I dropped my bags, strapped on my sneakers and bee-lined it to Central Park. I crossed Lexington to Park, and caught the wind of three ladies in bobs and Chanel No. 5 by the Met. The 86th street Hot Dog man donned a yellow plaid scarf. I skipped up to the reservoir and ran a lap. The perfect song came on, and I thought of you. I ran another half, past the brown water reeds and was reminded that you can only really welcome a season by ending another first.
I went to the store for figs and came out with pumpkin as well, which in the end might just be the perfect pair as we start to tilt a little further from the sun. From here, on the cusp, I think pumpkin cupcakes with a maple buttercream topped with fresh figs, candied pecans and maple sugar will help celebrate the both seasons just fine.
I'm not sure what will happen this fall. Maybe I'll hit it big at work, make strides and shake hands. Maybe I'll pick apples and pumpkins and make a batch of Christmas limoncello much better than the last. Maybe I'll spend my birthday abroad. Maybe I'll fall in love again.
For now, all I know is that today is September 21st. I know that this weekend will be for dinner parties, dark cocktails bars and Sunday football. I know that I'll watch the leaves turn gold each week in Massachusetts and when Thursday arrives, I'll watch the New York City skyline approach and get that same feeling of love for the city I've now called home for two years. I know that I'll have expectations, and things might turn out differently, but I'll be ready for whatever comes at me because that's what new seasons give you. Another chance.
So are you ready? Here we go...