Sow Good Seeds: Falling for Autumn

(Deborah Haak-Frost|Watershed Voice)

I’m really not the crunchy-leaves-and-cardigan-sleeves type that posts selfies in an apple orchard captioned “Happy fall, y’all!” Pumpkin spice lattes are just too much. I like wearing tank tops and sandals. 

There’s more than a twinge of disappointment as I harvest the last of the tomatoes. Remote work has a glamorous aspect when carried out from the patio, barefooted in the dappled shade. And as the angle of light changes through our west-facing glass door, it has a way of giving the cat hair and dust bunnies on the dining room floor a nice glow at sunset. 

That said, the transition from summer to autumn has definite appeal, chunky sweaters and trendy boots notwithstanding. As the long, hot days pass, I become aware that I’m ready for a refreshing evening breeze that makes me reach for an extra layer. I’m a little relieved that it’s time to wrap up the garden (or, more accurately, that the time for contemplating the weeds creeping in is coming to an end). Like clockwork, I begin craving cinnamon-spiced baked goods and hot beverages, and I’m glad for a reason to pull out my extensive collection of scarves. 

When the trees start to turn, I remember that my midwestern grandmother would mail my family red and orange maple leaves pressed in wax paper (when the temperature outside our door only fell to around 65 or 70 degrees, not a maple tree in sight). We would tape the leaves up in our kitchen window and feel very festive indeed. Maybe I’ll carry on her tradition this year. 

A farmer friend noted that the warm days and cool nights of the past few weeks have made for a pleasant shift of seasons. As the busy pace of summer slows down, it’s been nice to have some balmy weather to enjoy the spaciousness a bit before the chill settles in and hibernation mode gears up. 

In this in-between time, I’ve found the space to do some baking, I imagine prompted by the same instinct that causes animals to start growing their winter coat, even as the temperature hasn’t dipped quite low enough to need it. 

Because a kitchen without breakfast food makes for sad mornings, I baked a big batch of muffins and stashed half in the freezer. Because an entire loaf of store-bought bread had gotten moldy, I challenged myself to bake my own (and I’ll be darned if I let this one go bad). Because sloppy joes were requested for dinner and I happened to have the day off, I baked buns from scratch, saving some for later.

As much as I love being in the kitchen, I’m honestly impressed with myself. I don’t expect to have many unscheduled afternoons, and boundless energy for stirring and measuring and kneading. But it’s something. 

I’ll enjoy those muffins in a month or two, as I pull on my jacket and wrap a thick scarf around my neck, checking the weather to see if snow is in the forecast. As I chew, tasting the early-fall apples and late-summer carrots mingling with nutmeg and raisins, maybe I’ll be inspired to pull out the mixing bowl. 

Deborah Haak-Frost is grateful for every ray of sunshine that reaches her skin. She is the Caretaker for Community Engagement at GilChrist Retreat Center in Three Rivers. 

Any views or opinions expressed in “Sow Good Seeds” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.