Friday, October 21, 2016

Yay, Fall!

 I heart Halloween…part 2

And of course, it’s time for the great pumpkin! You’ll see the pumpkins being harvested. One of my favorite veggies (a squash by birth), it really is abused. Carved, baked, processed, pureed, tossed smashed, and then after the end of the year--ignored. During Halloween, the pumpkin is called Jack o’ Lantern. The alternate name change also changes its persona. Once a fat little squash it suddenly becomes mean and nefarious. Horrible faces gleam from its surface and inside its gleam seems unworldly. I prefer an intact squash whose color is warm and bright and reminiscent of an autumn sunset.

I love the softness of Halloween. The warm, worn memories. The feast and festivals were never meant to be scary or edgy. The living commemorated the dead, they had a comfort with death. They did not run in terror of the knife-wielding, zombies who sort of resembled their loved-ones. It was a time to remember those who went before you and to remember them fondly, not of hauntings and “boos” but, laughter and a few tears. Good times.

Leave Halloween alone. Keep your gore and screams. I’ll take the leaves and the warmth and the memories of my loved ones.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Yay, Fall!

 I heart Halloween…

But not for the reasons you think.

I’m not a big horror movie fan—so you won’t find me watching Friday the 13th or even Halloween on Halloween. I don’t do haunted hayrides or field of screams. I don’t like blood and gore. I worked in a trauma unit so I’m good (for rest of my life). I don’t even buy candy for trick or treaters'. We stopped getting little ones a long time ago. We do take our kids out to another neighborhood for a safe trick or treat experience. There are no sidewalks where we live. I’ve had maybe one or two Halloween parties and that’s fine with me.

I love Halloween. The real thing—the whole thing, the before and the after, and the true meaning of it, because it is the best part of fall. The term Halloween is a corruption of the words, “All Hallows' Eve.” It marks the night before All Saints Day, followed by All Souls Day. These feasts got a little bigger and turned into festivals. Many cultures developed all manner of traditions accompanying the festival. No need for a history lesson. There are other things I love about this time.

The temperature is decidedly cooler. The daylight is shortened naturally (and man-made daylight savings time). Leaves turn and the fall colors, which typically reach their peak in October, are glorious--bright yellows, deep reds, and rusty browns. The oranges, golds and purples add amazing depth and richness to the foliage. If you’ve never been outside during fall, you’re missing the best show ever. And it’s like a series, always something different.

Halloween indicates the end of the harvest and the beginning of the thanks for produce; plentiful and sustaining. Whether you can or freeze, there’s nothing better on your table than homemade sauces and soups (and healthier too). The apples are picked now in earnest, and can go until mid-November.

There’s the harvesting of the corn, soybean and hay before the crops go dormant. The grape harvest and subsequent wine-making is another favorite of mine. When Halloween arrives, it marks the time for frost wines. Grapes are picked on or near the first frost. The chilly crystals sitting on top of the grapes is supposed to add a delicate taste to the wine. Either way, the wine tastes good whether or not you can detect the difference. Some wines are bottle but others are uncorked.

(And there’s more next week…)