Fall is upon us. Even as the Bay Area’s Indian Summer postures and preens between the cloudy days and teases us with her warmth, around us we see (some) of the leaves turning.
In October, I start to think about rotating my wardrobe, and pulling out the winter-weight blankets.
Fall is associated with bounty. In Fall, I am preparing for the harvest. The holidays are where we reap the rewards of our year of emotional and physical labor, gathering with family and friends to celebrate the cycle of holidays.
As humans, we think we always have to produce. In fact, we are the only species that has the capacity to ignore the change of seasons, and keep on working. And so we do.
If we go inside and listen, if we attune to the rhythm of nature, in Fall we prepare to hunker down for winter, to go into hibernation. Or at least relax.
Of course October is also about Halloween, and pumpkins. I love Halloween, naturally, because my favorite color is black. My home’s exterior is black, a bold choice not many people will make, I admit. At this time of year, a single white pumpkin on my porch creates instant visual drama.
My extended family has a tradition. Every year we visit a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay, all of the cousins playing together.
Last year, we skipped it.
My daughter Jett was 11 and my son Dane was 14. I thought, “My kids are too old. Why make that long drive? We see our cousins many times throughout the season. I can get fantastic pumpkins and gourds right here in town at Berkeley Bowl.”
Just this week, Jett came to me and she said, “Mommy, can we go to Half Moon Bay this year? I need these traditions. They make my life better.”
A wake-up call and reminder from my brilliant, sensitive daughter. We need these touchstones. Traditions that give us something to look forward to. That we don’t necessarily grow out of.
Halloween, pumpkins, pumpkin patches, are October’s offering, an opportunity for us who have gotten so serious. These playful traditions ask us to come back to that childlike version of ourselves, as we also keep the traditions alive for our children.
And this might be why people love to seasonally decorate their interiors as well. Search “Fall Kitchens” on Pinterest, and you will find a plethora of images. Piles of pumpkins and gourds on countertops, balanced in stacks and clustered in jars. Olive branches, wreaths of eucalyptus, sage, and rosemary, hung in windows over sinks. Breadboards laid with spiced cakes, or honey and goat cheeses; bowls of walnuts to be cracked.
Oranges, golds, coppers, and browns are traditional, while a more subtle and modern nod to Fall incorporates punches of deep red or burgundy; from persimmons and dates to radishes and pomegranates.
This Fall, I think I might find the perfect pumpkin-shaped soup-tureen, and serve hearty squash-based soups to my family from it once a week.
And we are definitely going to go to Half Moon Bay.
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