Thursday, November 20, 2014
November Musings by Annalisa Russo
I take the back roads to work. In the Midwest, back roads wind lazily through extensive corn fields, and at this time of year, are reminiscent of Children of the Corn—solid walls of corn on either side of a two lane country road. Spooky. Then the next day—POOF! A muscular machine sits in the middle of a shorn field, and you can see so far the curvature of the earth is evident.
Such is the day today as I travel to work wearing my wool coat for the first time and watching gray clouds hang heavy overhead – snow, maybe?
I think over the weekend I’ll complete the task that most Midwesterners perform this time of year— switch their closets from breezy, summer wear and replace it with winter clothing. I’ll turn back my clock on Saturday for Daylight Saving time. I don’t exactly know why it’s still necessary to change the clocks back an hour, though driving to work in the daylight will be a nice change until 4:30 rolls around, and it is already getting dark.
I think about the effect these seasonal changes have in my life and realize I am anticipating something, like the promise of spring after a brutal winter, or the soothing temperatures of fall after a sizzling summer. And now, as the Bradford pear trees stand proudly in front of my house in an amazing burnt red and the sugar maple next door compliments it with a brilliant yellow, I think of the holidays that are soon to follow—only twenty-seven days to be exact, until Thanksgiving with Christmas just around the corner.
For a period of five years, I lived on the gulf side of Florida. I remember driving over a bridge one day and noticing a sign pinned to it announcing the Thanksgiving Day parade, only four days away! It snuck up while I was looking the other way. How did that happen?
Not so in the Midwest as nature always signals the alarm—the bounty of autumn gardens, cooling temperatures, and bare trees. The chill in the air that stirs an innate Midwestern hunger for comfort food in thick stews, creamy soups, fresh baked bread, and fragrant casseroles bubbling over in the oven. Time to drag out traditional Thanksgiving recipes and make my grocery list—turkey with Nonna’s bread stuffing, Aunt Gloria’s pumpkin pies, my grandfather’s roasted chestnuts, myriad
vegetables, and always two versions of potatoes, mashed and sweet, all eaten, if we are lucky, overlooking a yard with a fresh blanket of snow to carry us through Christmas.
So, as I write this blog, I make a note to remember these things when it is time to write about the Cavelli family’s Thanksgiving feast and celebration. I take a moment to remember my own life’s bounty.