Greek-American Stories: Autumn, Season of Comfort

The Greeks have a saying, “From March, count on spring. From August, count on winter.” This morning, going to see if I had mail, I sensed a bit of crispness in the air. Looking up at the crystal clear sapphire sky I realized the intense rays of summer are fading. I noticed touches of yellow and orange on some of the trees along the sidewalks. Autumn. Then I think, “wouldn’t it be grand if autumn was the longest season?” OK, let’s include the pretty spring months of April and May. But, after the humidity of this past summer and those 100 degree days I feel blissfully alive now and my energy is renewed. Bill has picked the last of the cucumbers and Swiss chard. But, there’s no end to tomatoes yet. Of course, birds have attacked some, leaving pecking holes in the skins. They were thrown away.

The sun isn’t as burning as it was in July and August. Simply walking around the lake in the park is now a delight. There’s a breeze and the ducks and geese swim by, peacefully, looking as if they too enjoy the change of weather. In the distance, through a thick crop of trees, a deer is nibbling on some low branches. I see more kids in the playground and one or two kids are fishing and, maybe a school of fish might be lurking somewhere under the clear waters of the lake.

While walking, I sometimes pause to pick up acorns and fallen branches for the fireplace. Mostly, I look forward to visiting the farmer’s market in the library’s parking lot where I’ll find apples and pears that are really naturally sweet, greens and lettuce that taste as produce should and not the bland stuff in the super markets.

Autumn is the season that yields a blessed bounty. As the calming, cooled season eases in, I don’t mind opening the oven more often to bake anything from roast chicken to spanakopita and koulourakia. I try to picture the first frost and wonder if we’ll get snow this year like in past seasons. I daydream, hoping for that time when I will be sitting by the fireplace with a book, a cozy mystery in my hands and a cup of Earl Grey tea with honey, enjoying the solitude and solace of my house. The garden now has less work excepting for watering the roses and plants on the front steps. Let the landscapers tend to what Bill and I can’t. Around this time, I recall holidays in the past, like Halloween, when my kids and grandkids used to come with ideas for Halloween costumes. I’d get busy and sew them up, creating clowns, the statue of liberty, a Hawaiian hula dancer, a Flamenco dancer and gypsies. No store bought cheapos for my kids!

To bring the subject back to the golden season, do yourself a favor and savor the cozy, comfortable splendor of the pretty autumn season. Like a welcome mat, this colorful time of year with the scattering of leaves, (OK there’s a peck of leaf bagging to be done, too, I know) autumn is here for you to enjoy. Even amidst Manhattan’s concrete jungle, Central Park has a sprawling refuge in a secluded alcove located in the southern section of the park’s Conservatory Garden. There’s a spot where a really old crab tree takes up space beside the pool dotted with water lilies and statues of the characters, Mary and Dickson from the book, A Secret Garden. At least, I hope it’s still there. It was there two years ago. So, too, in the botanical Gardens in the Bronx you can appreciate the coming cool days and see every variety of tree in full autumnal bloom when you tour the train – I like the ride that curls through the winding paths along the many acres, a truly lovely way to welcome autumn! Whatever the choice, spare the time. It’ll be worth it!





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