Have you noticed that the leaves are not changing color this year? Perhaps they are wherever you are, but here the leaves are not slowly draining their chlorophyll, revealing the deep reds and oranges and the golden hues that make autumn so beautiful. They are simply giving up quickly, shriveling into brown crunchy wads and relinquishing their hold on the branches. Autumn, with its permanently gray skies and weary leaves feels much more like death this year.
To overcome the melancholy, I began baking cookies. Cooking and baking, especially those methodic recipes that take time and extra care, are two things that are quite therapeutic. I doubled the recipe, allowing many extra confections to be packaged up and given to people I love. The bowl was almost not big enough for the massive amount of pumpkin spice batter.
I was hot, so I cranked open the kitchen window. Have you ever noticed how clean the air in autumn smells, even though all the plants are dying?
I carefully spooned even scoops of batter onto greased cookie sheets and hovered near the oven. The moment the timer went off, I would be there, prepared to lovingly retrieve the little, warm cookies from their sweltering incubator. Soon, the house was filled with the aroma of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It wasn’t only the cookies I could smell; I could sense comfort and bon-fires and holidays and all of the good things that autumn offers.
It may be a time when nature prepares for a cold, deep sleep, but autumn is my favorite time of the year for drawing warmth from memories, especially those triggered by the slow bake of cookies.