A return from a trip always reveals new things about home. The imperceptible cadence of life seems to have moved at a fast-forward pace upon our return. This is especially true if one has traveled at the change of a season. Autumn seems to have progressed more quickly when we return to a yard full of leaves and bare trees. Does life move this fast when we watch each leaf fall from a tree?
The front yard was of ambers and browns upon our return from Arizona this week. The shasta daisies had become a forest of sad sticks. The trees had shed all kinds of residue from their once-vibrant canopy. The breeze blew sadly across the yard, blowing everything around and reminding me of deferred work and empty lawn bags. The back yard was in even worse shape. It taunted me for a good weed whack like my head does in the mirror when it needs a haircut.
So too was the state of affairs at the local farmer’s market. The past month had taken its toll on the produce. The vibrating colors of summer had now given away to pumpkins and greens. Some sad but defiant tomatoes remained, but no one was fooled by their seduction. They mostly sat there, getting shriveled in the low, autumn sun. The parking lot was half-empty as the fair-weather marketers found something else to do with their Sunday mornings.
There used to be a bald guy who roasted peppers in a big, rotating drum. He’d show up every September with the contraption at the front of the market and the entire place smelled of his charring and tumbling peppers. The scent was intoxicating and was the most notable sensation I can ever recall of early autumn. But, he’s long gone and the fall market has never been the same. No matter, the autumn market is still my favorite even if my salad would lack the perfect, summer tomato.
After shopping, I returned to the house with a sense of renewal. There’s nothing like filling up the kitchen again after a trip away from home. And there’s nothing like home cooking to cure one of the weariness of travel. I had my own contraption to roast peppers on the stove and by early evening the house was renewed with the familiar smell of charring pepper skin. I smiled as I turned to look out the windows and to the yard that needed raking and whacking. With a sigh I resolved myself to deal with all that on another day—after I ate a few home-cooked meals of roasted peppers and autumnal produce.