If I was to hand out a prize to the most hygge* season, autumn would be the clear winner. As I write this post I'm listening to Yo-Yo Ma play the Bach Cello Suites, the chickadees are at our bird feeder, there's apple crisp made for tonight's dessert, and the weather has cooled enough that I will soon be wearing my handknit wool socks again.
I love the feeling of having my freezer stocked up with fruit picked this past summer, and soon we will also have our meat order for the year. There are jars of jam sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets, a convenient place for storing things in a small cottage. There are also jars of dried plums and blueberries and soon, after my trip to Victoria this weekend, they will be joined by dried apples. Vancouver Island is known for growing some delicious heritage varieties of apples.
One of the features I enjoy about the fall season is the return to routine. I think routine has an undeserved reputation for being a bad thing. Yes, doing the same thing over and over again, day after day after day, is most definitely mind numbing. But I find great comfort in the small routines of home. From my first cup of tea in the morning to my bath just before I go to bed, my day is filled with familiar things that give me balance in an often unbalanced world. After a busy summer, settling into all of these rituals again gives me great joy.
Food changes with the seasons as well. I love the move from the quick meals of summer to the simmering stews and soups that are once again part of our dinner menu. With cooler days I don't have to worry about overheating the house if I use the oven to bake. Blackberries are a sign that the season is shifting.
What better way to use them than for a lovely crisp. I love how this recipe calls for making it in a cast iron skillet.
It's also the time of the year for putting the garden to sleep until next spring. The carrot, leeks and kale remain, but everything else has been harvested.
As we move into fall I look forward to rainy days spent sitting in the window seat, knitting and reading. I also look forward to the glorious days where the sun is shining and the light filters through the forest, highlighting things that would otherwise remain hidden.
Fall, for me, is a season of contentment.
*Hygge is usually inadequately translated as cosiness. This is too simplistic: cosiness relates to physical surroundings - a jersey can be cosy, or a warm bed - whereas hygge has more to do with people's behaviour towards each other. It is the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one.