|A new friend, gentlewoman farmer Catherine, with eggs from hens Fiona, Molly and Mona.|
The bittersweet, textured beauty of Autumn has always gripped my heartstrings, pulling me in deeper, connecting with some invisible part of me, so much more so than Spring. Much more so than summer's flirtatious pleasures. And Winter, well. She is a dark and icy mistress. That relationship has always been complicated. So unlike my truly, madly deeply love of Fall.
And here am I. In L.A... Where Fall is just a pumpkin spice latte.
Los Angeles is without an Autumn. I know apologists who claim there is seasonal change (deciduous leaves do transform here- from dry green to crispy brown, sometime before Thanksgiving). But there is no Yankee eruption of brilliance- no reds, golds and coppery oranges. There is no softened, morning skyline heavy with balsam scented mist. Ardent Angelenos do not seem to bristle with three digit heat in October (it was 106ºF yesterday). They do not seem to crave L.L. Bean flannel shirts and cotton turtlenecks, like I do. Flip flops and tank tops are year round fashion choices. Along with hair dye, tanning lotions and injectables that promise eternal Spring. Los Angeles is a town of perpetual 21. In platform heels.
There are weeks (months?) on end I do not see a single woman sporting natural gray hair like mine. Never mind a natural neck- or- well. You know. That's another story. You get the picture. Not only do I feel invisible in sexualized So-Cal culture, I feel irrelevant, and bored. Restless. And unconnected. Year-round summer feels shockingly dull. Artificial. And uninspiring.
So I took my husband on a trip.
We spent a week on Cape Cod (my old stomping grounds, for decades). And I ate up every minute with a spoon. I spent entire days outside, wandering, hiking, drinking in the sea air, the peace and solitude, the creativity of the community (artists and writers, gardeners, crafters, gentlewomen farmers and furniture makers). Strong, independent women with silver streaked hair, and natural beauty that had never known a dermatologist's needle. Women not focused on a mirror. But focused on their curiosity. On creating something with their hands. Their spirit. It was grounding. And enlightening.
And it felt like home.
New Englander Ralph Waldo Emerson said, What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Not to wax too geo-pious, but New England does infuse your blood by birth. It roots you to its culture, its distinct sensibility. Its Yankee eye for simple elegance. An appreciation for patina. For thoughtfulness.
For me, my rural New England beginning fostered a life-long love of books. Music. Antiques. Landscape painting. Simple nourishing food. Walking in the woods. Quiet rather than noise.
Show rather than tell.
|Cape Cod corn gives way to pumpkin season.|
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Recipes
(so far...)One of the loveliest gifts of the fall season is a humble, orange squash we in the United States know simply as pumpkin. Earthy and unobtrusive, pumpkin's mild butternut flavor pairs beautifully with warming autumn spices. Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and cloves all cozy up to pumpkin, especially when sweetened with brown sugar or maple syrup.
Here are my favorite gluten-free pumpkin recipes- for my very favorite season. Fall. In no particular order ...
Pumpkin Streusel Muffins
Pumpkin Pie Bread
Pumpkin Quinoa Cookies
Frosted Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cake with Maple Frosting
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Scones with Nutmeg Icing
Easy Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Almond Crust
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Pumpkin Crumb Cake
Mexican Pumpkin Soup with Black Beans and Lime
|Karina's Pumpkin Streusel Muffins|
Here is a handful of photographs taken with my iPhone, capturing the unassuming, quiet beauty of Cape Cod. I was after the mood, the soft and ambient light, the spirit of place- and not merely the obviously scenic (the Cape is abundant in post card worthy beauty). I shy away from brilliant blue marinas and sparkling white sailboats. I gravitate toward dusk-lit dunes and wind swept grasses, wild paths and thickets. We walked meandering, wooded trails in Ashumet Reservation and Nickerson State Park. We took in the weathered villages of Wellfleet and Sandwich, soaked up inspiration in Provincetown and Orleans, and stood in the foggy rain to photograph marshes in West Barnstable. I shot hundreds and hundreds of photographs.
I offer just a taste here, along with a round-up of my favorite pumpkin recipes, because I feel compelled to excavate and share this piece of me, this urge, this devotion that keeps calling me back.
The Cape is my True North, it seems.
And I am taking the long way home.
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