October 19, 2011

missing fall

I looked up today and realized that we are almost two thirds of the way through October. My favorite month has come and almost passed, and I hadn't really noticed.
Sometimes New York feels like a bubble, you can see the world around you, but it's distorted, unreal, a little too shiny. I think it's the lack of horizon. You can't really look out into the distance here, because the distance is usually the building across the street. Even in the middle of Central Park, where, by design, the hills and trees block your view, so you can neither see the rest of the park nor the city that surrounds it.

This lack of horizon plays with your mind a little. I can look out my window on a rainy day and not see the rain. Against the brick, the drops disappears. There are no plants for the water to bounce off of, no leaves to get shiny. The wind is totally undetectable from our window because there is nothing for it to blow. It's not necessarily a bad thing, it means that we live in a sort of unending pleasant by mild day as long as we're indoors. But it has meant that we obsessively check the weather app on our phones when we get up in the morning, because otherwise, how would you know what to expect from the day?

The signs of fall are not all around. No pumpkins on porches, no garden yellowing with age, offering up the last produce of the summer, no giant piles of leaves to rake. The ginkgo trees on our block are starting to drop leaves, but they are simply washed away each morning when the supers come out to rinse down the sidewalks (even more important now that the fraternity boys are back!) The only hint that Halloween is almost here are the pumpkins (small, generally) that have been added to the produce racks outside every grocery store.

I miss fall. I miss picking apples and pumpkin patch trips and canning, canning, canning. I've thought about buying some apples from the farmers market to make apple butter just to get my preserving willies out a bit, but the cost of apples+jars would so outstrip what it would take to just buy some apple butter that it doesn't seem to make sense. I'm not sure where I would store them either. I may have to give in and make some of the soup mix I loved last year, my fingers itch to can something and that is one thing you can't really buy. But sitting up on the forth floor staring out at a brick wall doesn't seem to get my mind in the canning mood.

Yesterday I was chatting with some other homeschool moms about Halloween in the city.Those who had spent most of their life in the city assured me that Halloween was a blast here. Crazy people, crazy outfits, just riding down to the Village on the subway that evening would be an adventure. But then the other transplants spoke up, and their consensus was that Halloween here is pretty lame. It's just that the city people don't know what they are missing. There are events, sure, but they are crowded and tiring and, after all, events. Not knocking on friends doors for candy or marching in a raggle taggle parade through your neighborhood.

We had planed to go back to Virginia for Halloween and then, with Will's busy schedule, it started to seem like it was unlikely. But the closer it gets, the more I crave some small town life. Yards and wreaths on the door and gardens and apple orchards.

Christmas in the city will be exciting. Summer was an adventure. Thanksgiving will be, well, Thanksgiving. In New York. How can you top that? But Halloween, I suspect, was made for small towns and friendly neighborhoods.