Welcome, fall! It’s not to late to say that, right? I mean, fall is less than two weeks old, so now is the perfect time to welcome the season with open arms. Fall, it’s been a while! Please, have a seat and stick around. We have so much catching up to do.
I think I’m in good company when I tell you, dear reader, that I am completely, madly in love with fall, and this year is no different. In Texas, of course, we lack the gorgeous colors of less equatorial locations, but no matter: what we have now are cool(er) mornings and evenings and gorgeous, sunny days, perfect for bike riding and eating outside. The air-conditioner has been off for a while now, replaced instead by nature’s air-conditioner. When I’m at home, the glass door to the patio stays open unless I’m sleeping, and fresh air drifts inside, carrying with it the smell of sunshine and the occasional whiff of woodsmoke.
In the spirit of fall, I’ve brought my favorite orange coffee mug back into rotation, along with hot bowls of oatmeal in the morning. Now, I’m not used to eating hot oatmeal, so I find that I need a few minutes to let it cool in its bowl, and I may or may not find myself sweating after eating it, but my goodness, it’s delicious. Welcome back, hot oatmeal!
I find that fall is a terrific time to dream about bigger goals. I think a lot of people feel this way, because we spent so many years returning to school in September. Our brains were imprinted with the idea that September is a time of declaring our intentions. For my part, I’m hoping that fall will bring me the motivation to finish the final stage of setting up home in my new apartment. I’ve been in Texas for a year, and my nesting has been gradual. I still have one room that contains several boxes, and I’d love to see those boxes disappear because all the things inside them were given a place to stay. I need a bookcase or two, and I’d love to set up a wireless internet system so that I don’t have to be constrained by the location of the internet hook-up. I also really, really need to go to the recycling center, as my recyclables are starting to accumulate in big trash bags. I feel really strongly about recycling, but it’s difficult for me because there is no recycling in my apartment complex, so most of the recyclables need to be taken over to Bryan. Because I don’t have a car(!—I know!), the trip has to be done when either Matt is here or I can take a cab. Matt’s been a good sport about my using him for his four wheels, but this month, I’m going to take the plunge and cab it over to the recycling center.
My kitchen is totally ready for fall. I am now the proud owner of three pie pumpkins, all of which I plan to transform into fresh pumpkin puree. I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am to have pie pumpkins! Last year, I never saw pie pumpkins in Texas. Having just left behind the Midwest and my beloved farmers’ market, this was a huge disappointment to me. I was devastated. But this year is and will be different because I found pumpkins not at a farmers’ market but at my regular grocery store. I’m actually on the verge of hoarding pie pumpkins; every time I buy groceries, I think about buying another pumpkin. How many is too many for a single woman who LOVES pumpkins?
Clearly, the photo above was taken before my pumpkin hoarding reached a new level because now there are three pumpkins on that counter. Also in this photo: spaghetti dressed with the best basil pesto I have ever made and roasted cauliflower, still in its roasting pan. If I can get my act together, I’ll tell you about the cauliflower tomorrow. The pesto, however, is a local treat. If you were interested, I could introduce you to my favorite gardener, who is growing the most amazing basil I’ve ever tasted, with its deep notes of mint and chocolate. It is incredible.
I guess all of this is a way of saying that I am so very happy these days. I miss my family a lot, but my life down here is really great too, and I am grateful that I get to have this adventure of experiencing the changing seasons in a new place, where I’ve met new people who bring me basil from their garden. Moving to Texas has forced me to adapt, to accept change, and to seek the beauty in unfamiliar places. It has encouraged me to become even more resourceful, to rely on myself and on others, to make new friends and continue to nurture old friendships. I think I am more confident than I was a year ago, when I was in the middle of massive upheaval from graduation, moving, and starting a new job. I’m grateful not to be doing any of those things this fall. I feel like I have more time to enjoy this season, my favorite season. Welcome, fall. I kinda missed you last year, but this year, I’m ready. Bring on the pumpkins.