The dying lawn has received its annual farewell with a confetti of fallen red and gold leaves. Our quiet street outside my kitchen window is slick with intermittent drizzle. The sky is a muted white, a complete cloud covering above–the underpainting for stark brown lines of trees. A skeleton sits in a shallow grave on our front lawn. Fun-sized chocolate candies are scattered among the house. It must be Halloween.
No where to go this Sunday. No place to rush off to. We stay inside while our bodies and minds are allowed the space they need (following a very busy summer into early fall schedule) to settle and restore; to quiet down.
Last January I submitted my last post to Madison Magazine, completing the end of my contract. For the first time in three years, I did not renew. With the exception of continuing my daily journal-writing practice, I promised myself I wouldn’t write for several months. I had decided that I was constantly putting my words out, leaving little time for replenishment. Instead I read novels and put the cookbooks down. I read less of the New York Times Food section and more of the Science Times. I purged my cookbooks and sold what no longer suited me. I cleaned the house. We had a yard sale offering what we had outgrown.
I had coffee with friends without looking for a story about the shop. I let my subscription to Bon Appetit magazine run out. And I cooked plain food for my family–mostly without recipes and mostly from what we had on hand in the freezer or pantry.
I worked my shifts at the bakery and simply did the work that was in front of me, without stressing over deadlines or questioning what it was I was doing with my life (Ok, at first I did do a little of that). But mostly I just trusted myself and waited patiently for my hunger to return.
And now I am feeling hungry; for food I make with my own two hands in my home kitchen for my family and friends. I am hungry for the family table, for a little more slow-down time–for glowing candles and a wreath of pine, birch, acorns. For the scent of cider warming on the stove with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. For apple cakes and beef stew.