Summer, always fleeting in Maine, is over and autumn is here.
This summer brought me a day on a beerhall deck drinking lemonade with fellow MeFites (while they drank beer and I tried and failed — four times — to order a beer, too), a leisurely lunch at the neighborhood noodle bar with my visiting brother, a few happy evenings at Mom’s with my visiting sister-and-fam, a spontaneous garden party at with some friends (vinho verde and nectarines, y’all: believe), a plate of fried chicken livers and a handful of horehound sticks (the later shared with a niece), and a happy humid evening drinking rum-spiked blood orange soda and watching The Shining with a living room full of friends.
But hardly a week has gone by without me casting a longing glance forward to fall: to drier days and cold nights, to wool socks and sweaters, to stews and cocoa and days of baking.
Just a few of the things I’ll do this autumn and winter:
- re-read the Little House books. I haven’t read them since childhood, and it’s time to revisit them with an adult’s perspective. I suppose I could re-read them anytime, but if Pa is going to get stuck in that snowbank again and eat all the oyster crackers (and something tells me he will), I want to read it while the wind is whipping outside the window.
- make mushroom bourguignon. As a Christmas gift last winter, I made Mom an entire French dinner to keep in the freezer. It was my first time making boeuf bourguignon, complete with pearl onions and quartered mushrooms, and I spent the entire hot, fat-spattered afternoon cursing and muttering grimly “This had better be good.” And it was, so good that I had to force myself to pack it away for Mom instead of eating half of it myself. Even without the boeuf and the salt pork, I have pretty high hopes for mushrooms stewed in red wine, broth, and herbs, topped with caramelized pearl onions as a vegetarian dinner for a cold night.
- make the best [____]ing pumpkin pie yet again. The best [____]ing pumpkin pie has a similar backstory, but with more cursing, and I’ll tell it all someday.
- cool evenings snuggled down under blankets with The Fella, ideally watching scary movies so I have an excuse to bury my face in his shoulder.
- wearing all those boots! Boots that I left littering the apartment all spring and summer long, as if wistfully imagining a sudden July snowfall. Well, it ain’t July, but that snowfall is coming.
- spend more time at the library. Partly because a story I’m writing starts there, partly because it’s always good to spend a chunk of time out of the house, partly because my reading habits narrowed down recently and I need to widen them again, but mostly because HEY HEY YOU GUYS THIS BUILDING IS FULL OF FREE BOOKS TO READ. Sometimes the idea catches up with me and bowls me over.
- start attending the monthly women’s sci-fi book club hosted by a marvelous bookstore in my neighborhood. (It used to conflict with my trivia night, but the trivia team is on hiatus this season.)
- listen to ALL THE JANELLE MONAE. And I really, really want to thank you for dancing to the end.
- speaking of which, it’s time for an Afrofuturism film festival. Who’s in? I’m going to start with Sun Ra’s Space in the Place, move on to (household favorite John Sayles’) Brother from Another Planet, and after that, I’m open to suggestions.
- one of these days, I’ll have the pajama party I’ve been daydreaming about: toss all the futon pads and cushions and throw pillows onto the floor, set out piles of blankets, and invite friends over for naptime snacks like homemade goldfish crackers, cocoa, ants on a log, and (spiked) bug juice. Dinner can be tomato soup with grilled cheese soldiers. It’s obviously a cold-weather party, and every year I think maybe this is the year.