It hasn’t felt like fall to me yet, despite the fact that I wear my red boots almost every day and cup my hands around my tea mug in the morning.
If I were somehow prevented from viewing my calendar, the leaves the kids and I saw through the car windows along one downtown block this week would have given it away: the reds, purples, yellows, and greens; the green-reds and red-yellows. Enough shades of orange to rival a porchful of winter squashes. We stopped calling out the colors and gaped, twisty-necked, before I rounded the corner on the way to the bank.
Still, fall hadn’t passed through my skin until yesterday’s session with my camera in the front yard. I hadn’t noticed the structural part of fall. Leaf stems, for instance, and the way droplets hold their shape into the afternoon. Staring through a viewfinder will cure you of that.
In the summer, nothing is individual. The peas shoot up collectively, pocking the flat, plain soil all at once. When the pearl-button buds open, the tree limbs shed a placental role for a skeletal one, their structure hidden for a time behind a green and copious mass.
When I read the email reminding us that our last box of vegetables will be delivered next week, I went into the kitchen and unpacked this week’s box with more attention.
Will this be the last bunch of miniature salad turnips? I had better make a salad of the greens at once. The wide white stems on the chard are almost luminescent, aren’t they? And I’ll miss these carrots when we go back to the long, straight ones from California in a few weeks.
When he saw the carrot bunch, my husband remembered the carrot top pesto we made out of Diane Morgan’s cookbook, Roots, early in the summer. So last night we made that to top a soup, made with the carrots themselves and little more than onions, butter, and broth. I topped my bowl with some of the pesto, a half-spoonful of cashew cream, and toasted seeds rescued from the delicata squash I roasted as a side dish.
Dancing leaves. Carrot soup. Now I’m paying attention.