On a visit last week to our town library, I parked next to a line of ornamental maple trees ablaze with brilliant, sun-struck foliage. Beneath them, a riot of scarlet, crimson and orange leaves covered the ground, free for the taking. (Or so I assumed.) So I grabbed a shopping bag from the car and stuffed it full, a little guiltilyâ€”as if I were pilfering rubies instead of dead leaves.
Today was one of those perfect autumn days that takes my breath away: cool, crisp air; pale-golden beams of sunlight slanting through the firs; the scent of damp alder leaves wafting up as I raked them into piles to toss on the vegetable garden.
I woke up to gloom and drizzle this morning, a sight that would usually make me feel like ducking back underneath the covers to hibernate. (I canâ€™t, of course, because the animals will be demanding their breakfast.) But today is different because a gloomy, drizzly day is perfect for staying indoors to make herbal jellies, and thatâ€™s exactly what I have planned: a long-overdue jelly day with my sunny friend and jelly buddy, Linda.
Whenever we return from a trip somewhere, my family and I come home with two kinds of souvenirs: the real, hold-in-your-hands kind that you pick up along the way (from polished stones gathered for free on a beach in Wales to that expensive Mickey sweatshirt bought from a Disneyland tourist shop) and the intangible kind.
The log cabin, dimly lit by oil lamps and a few small windows, bustles with activity: girls dressed in matching aprons and bonnets (and a few boys, definitely not in aprons and bonnets) kneading bread dough, churning cream and grinding corn.