Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In my book, it isn't officially autumn until I've settled down with a steaming hot bowl of borscht and some good crusty bread. Borscht is cold-weather soup, made with those stalwart, sturdy vegetables that can be stored for months on end without complaint: beets, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions. It was very apt that as I chopped vegetables and stirred the soup, I heard on the radio that snow is forecast overnight. Perfect. Winter is coming: we settle down, we draw inside, we hunker over hot soup.

In my parents' household, I could always count on an annual pot of borscht, usually about this time of year. I would come inside from playing, my ears tingly and pink with cold, and mom would be stirring the borscht. It was like coming home and finding your live-in lover packing up and moving out. Even if you wanted it, even if you were eager for this new season of your life, it was still bittersweet. Well then. It's come to this. The ease of summer, the months of sun and warm rain and good growing weather have left us with this hearty pot of vegetables on the stove, bright pink. A goodbye note.

So, another year finds me enacting those rituals: maneuvering long ribbons of cabbage into my mouth, crushing pink potatoes with my tongue, angling to get just the right amount of sour cream on each spoonful. Tomorrow there might be a frosting of snow on the car windshield, but I can take satisfaction in knowing I didn't let the season pass me by. I focused. I meditated on chopping vegetables. I faced the change of seasons fully, without distraction, and I was ready for it when it came.


Mrs. Danby said...

Yeah, Borscht...so not what I thought it was!!

C said...

I miss upstate new york fall - we're having a strange, long drawn out indian summer here in japan, it's been in the low/mid-70's for the past 3 weeks. Supposedly supposed to dive to regular fall temperatures this weekend, but who knows ^^;; I would kill for a good crisp day and the apple festival in ithaca right now ::homesick::

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