Tuesday, November 1, 2016

SEASONS and SEASONINGS

Where I live, the seasons are barely delineated. Call it year-round spring, and you wouldn’t be far off. But we do our best to pretend to have, at least, two seasons.


Winter is ushered with a change of bed quilts, from the light colored and thinly stuffed to the heavier, darkly rich hued kind. 


When my kids were little, the content of their dresser drawers would change— with lighter clothes placed at the bottom and sweaters floating to the top. New pairs of socks would replace the odd unmatched singles of last year, and sandals got pushed to the back of the shoe drawer.



In truth, we can just about wear any of the clothes any time, and the bedding would not make a real difference either way. But we pretend we can’t, really, in order to have the illusion of change. Unlike folks who have what we here call “real weather,” we don’t change our tires to snow tires, and we don’t use antifreeze. We don’t need to get the snow shovels from the back of the garage, and we have no use for thermal underwear. For those who go on ski weekends— their gear is specialized, but this was never part of my life in California.


But one seasonal thing is not a pretense for me. One word sums it up: SPICES. Specifically— Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and that thing we call allspice, which isn’t all the spices mixed together but a kind of pepper from a West Indian tree.


Sure, you can use these in summer, and people of “real weather” think of these seasoning as ushering Fall. But in some mysterious way I find a strong urge overtakes me to start spicing and baking and stewing and sprinkling with the above as soon as November comes.

That’s today. Can you smell it all the way from my kitchen?

As the gingerbread is baking and the pumpkin soup is simmering, I reflect on how this relates to writing stories. I don’t want to write the same story over and over. I mark a new story with new and distinct words and expressions. In this way I know I am entering a different territory. Words, used like seasoning, tell me I am here and not there, and should address perception differently.
 Just as I will now dress differently.


If this sounds like a stretch, just come over and get a whiff. I’m not kidding.


11 comments:

  1. Ginger's yummy any time of year.

    I was going to write: "Perpetual Spring? I'm moving to California!" But I wonder whether I'd find such delight in Spring if I hadn't just suffered through Winter.

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    1. You reminded me of my grandma who said, "if you're always happy, how would you know?"

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  2. I'm glad we have weather changes, but I like your own way (with spices and cooking) of making the seasons different. Why yes! Your cooking does smell yummy all the way here to KY. :)

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  3. Ginger is so good. :) We definitely have temperature changes here. Today will be 70, while Friday might not leave the 40s. :( Friday is my daughter's outside field trip I'm chaperoning too. Did I mention I hate the cold?

    Good luck with your story!

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    1. Enjoy the change, both temperature and activities. Friday will be a day to remember.

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  4. YUM to gingerbread! Year-round spring sounds nice, but I think maybe having horrible weather makes us appreciate the good more? I don't know--lately it seems like it's ridiculously hot here from March to November...that's most of the year!

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    1. I'm happy to keep our mild variations...

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  5. Mirka, I love how you write, how you move us into your world of spicy warmth. Illinois has four clear seasons and many holidays to move it's inhabitants through them. I avoid the commercial stuff and rely on our farms produce, our land to pull me from one season to another. today it was carrot cake and making more pumpkin puree. It's an orange sort of day!

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    1. "It's an orange sort of day"---
      Viva Vitamin A!

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  6. The light coming in from the windows onto your bed of cats is such a lovely sight, Mirka. I'm not a fan of ginger in baking but love it when Mom adds slices of it to our stir-fry dishes (or fish). Cinnamon, now that I like!

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