Autumnal

frostI don’t know about you, but seeing temps in the mid-30s this morning warmed my New England heart. That and news that the autumnal equinox is nigh. Although my calendar claims that September 23rd is the day, the almanacs tell us that, at least here on Eastern Daylight Time turf, it goes down on the 22nd at 10:29.

That being Monday night and me being an early bird who wonders how night owls manage, I will no doubt be sleeping on the occasion. But no matter. Much like the New Year’s ball in New York dropping at the stroke of midnight and just like aging another year, it’s all one. Like a few cousins, in other words, time is relative.

I know I’m not alone in claiming autumn as my favorite season. The trouble is, much of what I like about it is built around food: Cortland and Macoun apples, cider, the lovely taste of pumpkin in all its incarnations, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream melting across its cracked surface, root vegetables mulling things over in the oven, warming soups, coffee steaming in the outdoors air, hints of frost on the glass above window muntons.

It seems cold outside births cozy inside, which in turn encourages comfort food. Homemade cinnamon doughnuts, anyone? Vermont cheddar cheese slices? Maple syrup on steaming hotcakes with butter melting off the stack like so many Dali clocks?

Lord, a man could grow fat on the senses this time of year. To celebrate, then, a simple Robert Frost piece on coming attractions:

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
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