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Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Season for the Senses by Rose Anderson

It’s official. The seasons have changed. In my neck of the woods, yesterday’s early autumn storms brought heavy rain and cooler temperatures. I’m good with that. Of all the seasons, I love fall the best. What’s not to love? To me, autumn is a treat for the senses.

First off, autumn is filled with pleasant sights.

I think it safe to say most people are familiar with the colors of autumn. Shrubs and trees of all kinds don bright yellows, blazing oranges, and an array of reds and browns. In my area, if conditions are just right, even the oaks will turn bright maroon.

How about pumpkins? I was a city girl for the first twenty-three years of my life. Back then, any pumpkin came from the grocery store. I experienced my first pumpkin patch after moving to the country with my husband and young daughter. There were acres of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes there and I was thrilled. Next to trees in autumn finery, nothing says fall better than orange pumpkins piled high next to bushels of multi-colored gourds.  Add to that clusters of Indian corn hung here and there. Their hard colorful kernels remind me of mosaics of semi-precious stone.

I love Halloween decorations in the small towns around me too, but I’m more of a traditionalist. No zombies or horror for me. I like my ghosts, skeletons, and pointy-hat witches amid the jack-o-lanterns. And I absolutely love seeing mobs of little kids Trick or Treating with parents in tow.  :)

It might just be me, but clear autumn days always seem to have brighter skies – bright blue skies or grey mackerel skies just appear more stunning. One of the coolest things overhead has to be the V’s of geese heading south for the winter. Another favorite of mine – those massive flocks of migrating songbirds that roll and shift through the sky like waves. 

The night skies this time of year are pretty nice too. Away from city lights, I have skies dark enough to see the constellations. Aquarius, the water bearer, and Pegasus, the winged horse, both have their place in the sky now. They’ll soon make room for Orion and the rest of the winter stars. If you have a telescope of eight inches or more in aperture, you’ll be able to see Neptune and its largest moon, Triton. Go out on a clear night. The planet Venus starts to climb the night sky and gets brighter by the day. By the end of the month, it’ll be one of the brightest “stars” in the sky.

Autumn has great sounds.

As the leaves fall, the sound of the wind in the trees becomes sharper. Those stubborn leaves that refuse to let go rattle and rustle with each blast. Who doesn’t like the crunch of leaves underfoot? It’s like shuffling through the dried memories of summer.

One of the best sounds of autumn has to be those migrating geese, ducks, and sandhill cranes flying overhead. I hear them all day long this time of year and never tire of it. Canada geese often stop at the wetlands around my home. They fly low to land and are anything but graceful as they careen and slam into one another. The sound they make is reminiscent of styrofoam chunks smacked together. Second to that, those huge flocks of passing birds I mentioned above. They often stop and rest in the trees in my yard and chit chit chit as they talk to one another.  When they leave their roost they do so in a loud whoosh. Sometimes they come in such numbers even Alfred Hitchcock would have been inspired.

On a smaller scale, this is the cricket time of year. Salamanders are chirping too – the sound somewhat similar to a fingernail running down a few teeth of a comb. I also enjoy the sound of logs popping on a campfire. Occasionally we’ll build a fire at night and drum with friends.

Autumn also comes with great scents and tastes.

A favorite of mine is the heady scent of burning of leaves or the lingering smokiness from a log fire. I love the accent smoke leaves on everything. It's a scent made even better when the air is crisp and clean. 

I’m a soup person – I love making them, love eating them, love smelling them simmering on the stove. I especially love when my husband comes home and raves over the wonderfully delicious aroma at the door.  I’ll add another sense to the rest ~ Autumn is a perfect time for snuggling! Here's an autumn favorite to get you started.

Butternut Squash Bisque (soup to snuggle with)

I large peeled and cubed butternut squash.
1 48oz carton of chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion  minced
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 t. butter
1 1/2  bricks of Neufchatel cream cheese (also known as Light)
Optional topping - a dollop of crème fraîche, sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt 

Prepare your squash. (Wrapping the squash in plastic wrap and microwaving until it feels soft to the touch is much better than fighting the hard peel with a paring knife. Let the squash cool, then scoop out the cooked pulp. Discare seeds or bake with a little salt like pumpkin seeds) Sautee onion in butter until translucent. Add squash pulp and stock  Simmer until squash is cooked through. Add cayenne. Cube the cream cheese and stir in until melted. Puree with a stick blender or in small batches in a food processor. 
Serve it in a mug. Add a grilled cheese sandwich alongside. Then go snuggle under a cozy blanket with your puppy, your kitty, or your sweetie.   :)

About Rose 
Rose is multi-published award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and discovering interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in the rolling glacial hills of the upper Midwest. 


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Unknown said...

Happy Autumn, Rose! It's my favorite season as well. Must be the way the trees match the red hair for a while. Loved the sensory delight of your blog post... and thanks for the fine recipe. I'll make it for us next week.

Rose Anderson said...

lol must be. You'll love the soup, Gemma. Easy and snuggly-good.

Paris said...

Autumn is at the top of my list as favorite season. I love every little sensory detail, especially all of the wonderful scents coming from the kitchen. Soup and bread and pumpkin pie. Yum! Along with the scents, I do love the clearer skies. One of the things I miss most about living on a farm is the beautiful night sky without any of the light pollution of a surrounding city.

Tina Donahue said...

Wow - love the recipe - now if I could only get a good-looking pool boy to make it for me. :) said...

My birthday is in the autumn and always wondered if it's my favorite season because of that. But I, too, love the colors and the cool - not cold - air. I live in the city but there's lots of open sky around us and I see lots of geese, some flying south, but some flying toward a nearby cemetery where they spend the winter. Great post, Rose.

Cara Marsi said...

There is much I like about autumn--the colors, pumpkin everything, like coffee, bread, ice cream and spreads. Trader Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream is the best! I love making soups and stews and crock pot meals and I love wearing cute jackets with my jeans. But I wish spring came after autumn. I'm a summer person and much as there are good things about autumn, it signals winter coming and that makes me sad.

Lynda Bailey said...

Thanks for the yummy recipe, Rose... Butternut squash is a favorite of mine... ;)

Judy Baker said...

What a great post Rose. I loved the descriptions you used to describe autumn. I too love the clear night skies with all the planets and stars.

Sandy said...

Oh, Rose, you always write the most delightful posts. Fall is my favorite season, too.

Thank you for the recipe. It sounds delicious.

I've seen the geese flying overhead, too. Wonderful to watch them.

jean hart stewart said...

Spring and autumn rank equally on my scale, but summer is the best. As for winter....UGH!!!

Melissa Keir said...

Fall is here too. The wind is rustling the leaves and the world is bright and orange. The smell of leaves decomposing and the spices in the air.

Thanks for reminding us about the beauty around us!

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I'm glad you enjoyed my walk through the senses. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stirring memories of Autumn, Rose. In southeast Texas we really don't have fall. Just a long endless summer and a few cold days in February. Then we have a few days of spring and its summer again.
Loved the recipe. Thanks a bunch
~JD Faver

Janice Seagraves said...

Oh, I love autumn too. I'm enjoying the cooler temps and the decorations. Unfortunately California doesn't have the lovely fall colors like your part of the country has.


Janice Seagraves said...

Oh, I love autumn too. I'm enjoying the cooler temps and the decorations. Unfortunately California doesn't have the lovely fall colors like your part of the country has.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

I love autumn as well: love the colors and the cool nights and sunny days. I also love the food. Pumpkins and squash are delicious and healthy.

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