Sunday, October 30, 2011

Autumn, and Updates

I grew up in Wisconsin. I miss it terribly at times, especially this time of year. We lived on a street that was lined with huge oak trees. Leaves were omnipresent and we built massive forts in and with them. Halloween was a huge event for the community, but we very rarely participated in the festivities, unless they were school initiated (side note: I grew up "next door" to Jeffrey Dahmer when he was, well, being Jeffrey Dahmer...).

Pumpkins were ubiquitous. I absolutely adore pumpkins. I love the taste. The smell. The usefulness of them. From jack'o'lanterns to roasted pumpkin seeds to pies and muffins, I adore pumpkins. My mother even made pumpkin pie for my birthday in July a few times. Pumpkins are just a happy squash. Round, orange, with its own handle. A splash of color after the leaves fall and the skies turn grey. Or, at least in Wisconsin they were.

The key to getting a good pumpkin that would last until Thanksgiving was to wait until after the first frost to go pick it. In Wisconsin, that didn't take nearly as long as it does here. After we moved here, I once made the mistake of waiting. The pumpkins all disappear after Halloween. The temperatures are usually too warm to keep them all from rotting. Or, perhaps, the pumpkins grown in this area are the ones turned in to canned pumpkin. I don't know. All I know is that if I don't have my pumpkins by the end of October, I can't find them.

Today is October 30th. We've had unusually crisp weather the past few days. I awoke to find frost coating the yard and porch. We already have our pumpkins for the year, but I am so tempted to go out today, before the remainder all disappear, and purchase more. If nothing else, so I have more seeds to roast, but also to hold true to the traditions I experienced growing up.

But this odd turn in temperatures (we actually had sleet on Friday...) also makes me wonder what we're going to encounter as the seasons progress. Syd's first year, we had massive snowfalls (for this area). 17 inches in one night. I hadn't seen snow like that but once in a decade since I moved from Wisconsin. It brought me home. Last year, we had less snow, but still quite a lot, and just in time for Christmas. I witnessed my first white Christmas in years. Granted, it wasn't fresh white, but it was there. This is the first time in a looooong time I remember having anything frozen before Halloween. Does that portend something similar for this winter?

Regardless of what occurs within the next few months, I am finding myself reminiscent and nostalgic for my childhood. The days we would literally build a labyrinth of tunnels from the front door to the street in 4 feet of snow to make it easier to get the mail. Or the time the kids in the neighborhood all banded together to build the snowman taller than our basketball goal. Or, since tomorrow is Halloween, the flourished taping of the milk carton cap over the door bell to prevent trick-or-treaters from ringing, then getting to choose where the family would go while trolls, witches, vampires, and ghosts wandered the neighborhood. My second broken nose happened on one of those trips. But that's another story...

Before I close, just a reminder that November is NaNoWriMo, and I am attempting, again, to write a novel in one month. I will more than likely not be posting any updates until after Thanksgiving. So, be safe tomorrow, take care of you, have a wonderful day of Thanks, and I'll see you in December.

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