Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23, 2009

There is something about a violin concerto, especially one by Vivaldi, that perfectly encapsulates fall. All the soaring, rippling notes and the energy; I can close my eyes and see the leaves slip sliding down through the darkening air and smell the cool, damp grass.

Tonight the sunset was cream and gold above the mountaintops. It had rained during the morning and the deck still held dark pools of water, each reflecting the sky. My mums have died; I suspect I didn't water them enough, but the pansies I planted back in April survived the summer and still bloom, their inquiring faces peer over the edge of the planter.

The Larry household and I have begun what appears to be a never ending exchanged of baked goods. Larry started it when he wandered into the garage with a pile of crumbling peanut butter cookies. Several days later, I passed over the fence a plate of blueberry coconut cheesecake bars. Shortly thereafter a large piece of white cake flavored with some kind of liquor came our way.

The plate now sits on my counter, awaiting slices of banana bread, so I can properly return it. When I was baking the bread, I remembered how Mom always told me to save the paper wrapping from the stick of butter to grease the pan with. I remembered how she taught me to flour the pan, to tip it from side to side and tap until the flour dusted each side.

I remembered the round, dented tin that held the flour and how this abundance always reassured me as a child, when I would dip the measuring cup in. Flour, I knew was always leveled off with a knife. Brown sugar on the other hand, was to be packed in tightly and would fall out with a solid thump. I knew that to make pie crust, cold water should be added by the tablespoon and tossed gently with a fork to make sure it stayed tender.

Though I enjoy all the fat handled, brand new cooking utensils I work with these days, when it came to buying a set of measuring spoons, I bought the cheap tin set with a cheerful rattle. It's identical to the one I remember using with Mom. If only I could find the tin flour sifter with the wooden handle and the pastry cutter.

I thought of my father too, recently, when I finally became dissatisfied with the spring like arrangement of flowers on the kitchen table. In a fit of fall decorating, I strode into the dollar store and purchased, on pure instinct, bunch after bunch of fall leaves and jewel toned flowers. There is also a little bowl of fall gourds and leaves on the round table by the front door and a big, fat pumpkin on the front step, next to the pansies.

Today I helped Keith clean the gutters. He steadied the ladder while I scooped a year's worth of pine needle gunk out. The weather has been chilly this week, we both wore jackets and gloves. Since he's been on block leave, he's let his beard grow in and damn it, I'm going to be heart broken when he has to shave it off.

There was just something so pleasing about looking down into the upturned face of my blue eyed, red bearded husband, with his cap and his fall jacket setting off his broad shoulders. I concentrated on my work though, the gutters are clean. (Actually, it's a wonder I managed not to fall off the ladder.)

I took some pictures though. I tell you what, as soon as he retires, he's growing that beard back, pronto.