By chance, luck or the randomness of the universe, I scored three pints of the last blueberries of the season at the farmers’ market (hello fall squash and apples, goodbye berries). In my eagerness make use of the berries, I made my first blueberry (and peach) pie, concocted from a variety of sources my own version of blueberry ice cream, and made an old stand by, blueberry muffins. It was the jackpot winner of Labor Day weekend, and not just because of the awesomeness of the desserts, but because of the joy– yes, joy –they brought to family and friends.
We’ve been in Chicago for two weeks and driving back into Three Oaks on Saturday, I felt like I’d been away for months. It is pleasantly cool here, fall-like already. Our yard needs raking, the leaves are turning, and the smell of fall — wood smoke and fragrance of crisp crunching leaves — is already in the air. I felt and smelt it today on my bike ride, and was pleasantly surprised by my welcoming of fall, which means the end of carefree days. The last juices of summer blueberries combined with the cool of autumn made my hours of cooking seem my own symbolic transition into school-readiness. (JY — you were right; I needed to be here to center).
Our neighbors hosted a party today, and my pie was a hit — combined with peach sherbet, and for the very adventurous, corn ice cream, (also made with sweet corn from the local farmer market) and Gorilla Girl ate two platefuls of pie sans crust! The blueberries were tart and the pie was still warm when we dug in after the shared neighborhood dinner. Perfection.
Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl got into the act with me in the kitchen, rolling dough with the excess from my (first ever, and spectacular) pie crust. Monkey Man made noodles, à la Kung Fu Panda, and he invented a story about eating said noodles. Gorilla Girl just cut and rolled, cut and rolled.
At the Labor Day bash, Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl played with so many of the other party goers that EE and I actually had time to visit, talk, and even relax a little. Our children are growing up, becoming more confident and relaxed here with the folks in our town, and probably do as good a job entertaining the neighbors as the neighbors do of keeping Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man occupied. Between games of put-put for cash in DK’s garage (called the “barn” by MM), playing soccer with the guys in the yard, playing with DW’s i-phone, catching cheeto-eating moths, and dancing, Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl had quite a final farewell bash to summer.
When we finally made our way home, as we meandered across the yard, Gorilla Girl said, in her most grown-up and serious voice, “It’s good to be back in Michigan.” I laughed out loud at her perception of my own inner thoughts. It is good to be back. Once in the house, getting ready for bed, Gorilla Girl continued her philosophizing about the evening. “That was a really good party, wasn’t it?”
She was happy, and Monkey Man was equally content.
We are content here, gathering our strength, centering before the coming academic storm that will bring more challenges and rewards, too.
And the blueberry trifecta — well, that warmth of the pie, especially shared with friends, the incredible color of the ice cream, and the welcome familiarity of the muffins capture our good fortune and all that summer had to offer as we plunge ahead into autumn.