Monday, October 10, 2011

making sense of fall

Vermont Autumn by Vicky Brago-Mitchell

I am talking seasons here. I don't much like the other kinds of falls -- falling down, falling in love and such. Neither do I like falling skies, but I do admire a waterfall. And I feel for the fallen angel, the fallen woman, and the fall guy.

The color of winter surely is white, and a bit of grey? It is hard. The color of spring, of course, is green. And it feels like rain. How about summer? yellow! red! blue! the brightest of those colors. It burns. And the color of fall is burnt orange, and caramel.. That golden, honey-hued, sunlight-trapped amber. It soothes.

One of the best things about living here, is that I can experience the wondrous phenomenon of changing seasons. The very conspicuous, blatant transformation. It is not the simultaneous life and death hullabaloo going on in the tropics. there, it is a drama all the time -- either the blazing sun or the lashing thunderstorms. I admit all that has its own beauty, and I did enjoy that. In fact I long for it at times. It is a Bollywood masala movie. But I am always amazed at the more elaborate, highly demarcated play of  birth, growth, old age, and death, enacted annually, in these parts. This here is a Kathakali performance.

Now to  the tastes -- the taste of spring is that of the dewdrop-like nectar from the velvety  flowers of the banana tree, back home. Like  green tea made of lime leaves,with  a kick of ginger, and a hint of lemongrass. The slow, languorous but refreshing  wake-up cup. Nature is itching to go! Like frisky little bunnies, and lambs. Summer is a tall, cool glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. It has the earthy taste of grilled food. It is fun, but it is also sweat and toil.  Fall tastes and smells like apples with caramel ,and cinnamon. Such an accomodating season! Its colors reverberate all over -- on the trees, in the very color of its light, its foods, in the soft glow of a bonfire, or of the little flame inside a lantern-- that warm caramel color. I think I eat winter when I eat ice cream. But winter tastes like hot chocolate. And roasts. And at times, it feels like shrouded death -- cold and bare.

Come to think of it, I like all seasons. That gradual thawing, unfolding of life. The struggle of the tiny green shoot rising from the ground. After all that waiting, spring moves in fits and starts. But winter's iron hand is slow to let go. It comes in the form of  frost, killing off new buds. And the rain -- those sudden dampenings, sometimes, almost as an afterthought. Like a wet blanket, it restrains the soul raring to fly. Nevertheless, it finally eases away, making room for summer's frolic and thirst. Summertime, it sometimes goes by in a flash. A jog, a bout of yardwork, a few grillings on the patio, if you are lucky, a stroll under the blue skies, outglaring the sun's glare on a beach. The hot, parched earth looks for a gentle coolness.  And then comes Fall.

The apple pie season. I had never tasted an apple pie before I came here. The minute I did, I fell for it. It was perfect. The right balance of sweet and tart and spice. My kind of delicious. It was the proverbial feast for the senses. Surprisingly, I felt  like I had tasted it before! Like I was revisiting a familiar flavor.

So, is fall my favorite season? Am I falling for Fall? (couldn't resist it haha) Maybe. In any case, Fall  is cool, and cozy. Nature has retired, content, after a lifetime of intensities -- the wet longing of spring and the fiery passion of summer are gone. Fall is memories, and the reaping of what one  planted. It is as though nature is pleasantly spent, ready to put her feet up. She exhales. Even the leaves fall with a sigh -- of relief? of resignation? because they know that it is the beginning of the end. Death is coming, but for now, we are sitting around the flickering fire, wrapped in warm coats, relaxed, remembering. At peace with the earth, the sky, the stars, and hopefully, one's companions.

Now, to the apple pie - it's baking in the oven. :)
The season and the food are so happily joined and let me share a slice of that pie with you! :

Have a great fall! ;)

PS: This piece is so full of cliches, makes me want to puke. but still I meant every word. :)

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