Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Crisp of Fall

After the stifling heat of Rome, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Minnesota, these days that just linger on the mid-70s are the blessed first, dreamy wisps of fall.  That almost imperceptible crispness has returned to the air, and with it, a new clarity to our movements.  We can run again.  We can picnic at midday.  We can turn off the air conditioning.  It means a return of baking, soups, and new routines.  School has started again, and we, who are too young or too old for school, are home filling our time with letters and sounds, cutting and pasting, reading and re-reading, and taking field trips to fairs and farms.  

Next week I'll show Dominic and Cate one of the longstanding joys of my childhood: we'll go apple picking and gorge ourselves on the finest fruits of nature.  Honeycrisp, braeburn, and gala.  These are a few of my favorite things.  Biting into a juicy, extremely flavorful but slightly tart, and, of course, crisp, apple floods my tastebuds and my mind with all the memories stored in that bite.  Walking through enormous hanging plastic flaps into the giant refrigerator room at Bauer's Market in La Crescent, MN, where you could taste endless samples of its glorious apples fresh from its orchards.  Smelling simmering apples all day and then taking turns cranking and pushing the soggy apples through that crazy machine into quarts and quarts of deliciously pink applesauce to enjoy the whole winter.  Stealing apples from the college cafeteria and making apple crisp with all my new friends.  Bonding with the somewhat seedy (at that time) Konrad over his peace-offering of as many honeycrisp apples as I could ever want.  And opening my dorm door to the Valentine's Day surprise of a giant heart drawn with apples on my bed from my dear husband (now).

I just love the crisp bite of fall.  Isn't it amazing what things can be caught up with a taste or smell?  Ponder thus.