Autumn!  Oh, how I love it.  I love everything about it.  I love the cooler temperatures.  I love the changing colors of leaves and shuffling through them while taking Mollie the pug for walks. 


I love kicking the horse chestnuts that fall off the trees.  I delight in weekends when I can head up to our gorgeous mountains, camera in hand to capture the season.  I adore Halloween and all of the tacky decorations that go along with it.  By September, I am tired of barbeque and ready for hot homemade soups with crunchy bread.  I confess that I have a weakness for the smell of wood burning in the neighborhood fireplaces even though it’s bad for our environment.  I, myself have gas fireplaces, but I must admit that I’m a little happy that a few of my neighbors have held out and still use wood-burning fireplaces once in awhile.  I relish the way the natural light softens and filters through the trees and that the sun is not as intense.   


For the past many years I have hosted an annual family gathering to celebrate the Harvest.  I call it Harvest Fest, and it has come to be my family’s favorite get-together.  Brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, my adult kids, grandchildren and and one or two strays always show up, excited that this day has come.  Everyone contributes to the menu, but I always make my corn chowder and peach pies because there would be a family revolt if I did not.  


There is only one rule:  all produce must be freshly harvested either from our own gardens or bought at a farmer’s market.  As much as I would love my own garden, I live in an urban neighborhood with a yard that is too small to successfully plant more than just a tomato plant or two and some herbs. 


But part of the joy I feel is going to our local farmer’s market, bags in hand and a pocket full of cash.  I make the rounds to all my favorite vendors.  I know who has the sweetest corn, the most tender lettuces and flavorful peaches.  I eat my way through the process, sampling everything that is offered and then bring home my haul, loading them onto my kitchen counter.  Yes, the annoying fruit flies show up almost immediately but I don’t even care as I feel such satisfaction surrounded by these beautiful gifts of the harvest.  Then I start cooking:  three pots of corn chowder, three peach pies, fruit and lettuce salads.  I wash and peel and chop and make a juicy mess of my kitchen.  And I love it. 


So Happy Harvest Season everyone!!!  Eat that corn, those red and yellow and orange tomatoes and as many peaches as you can because before you know it, it’s over.  Today I ate my last peach, and there are no more to be found at the farmer’s markets and I am feeling a little melancholy.  Winter is around the corner, and I always dread it until it comes and I remember  that I don’t mind it as much as I thought I did.  It’s been a process, this learning to appreciate each season for what it gives, and I’m still learning.  But I always secretly wish that Autumn could stick around a little bit longer.   



Good thing there’s always next year to look forward to.