about bliss

Sunday, October 21, 2007

old fashioned autumn sunday

autumn leaves by John Everett Millais, 1856*painting held by manchester city art gallery, manchester*from wikipedia

Today has been just the kind of glorious, quiet, meandering day I needed to recharge for another busy week. I ate my breakfast and finished my grading and prepping for class tomorrow and went for a short run all before noon. The afternoon was mine alone, to fill at my leisure. I noticed a rake propped up outside my house and decided I would contribute to the yard work by raking the front yard and the small side that borders the neighbors' home (where I will be moving come January--more on that later). The sun poured down through the few remaining leaves, a warm antidote to a gusty wind that made raking seem like a ridiculous task. But I powered on, raking and scooping and flipping leaves into a giant pile on the edge of the street. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, chunks of fresh pumpkin were steaming and roasting in the oven. I "rendered" the pumpking from the cute pie-sized orb I bought at the market last week.

Upon finishing the leaves, I tended to my pumpkin, pureeing the softened chunks with my stick blender. I felt no small degree of satisfaction for taking this extra step to make homemade pumpkin bread. Even the great Dorie admits in her cookbook that she uses canned pumpkin (which I always otherwise do, but this pumpkin was so darned cute and sweet looking). First, I set forth to make carrot spice muffins from the aforementioned Dorie while the pumpkin cooled. By the time I had popped the muffins in the oven and washed my dishes, the pumpkin was cool and I mixed up the pumpkin bread, which is almost done. The house is now redolent of freshly grated nutmeg, ginger, and ceylon cinnamon (the only cinnamon I have left! a trip to Penzey's is in order next weekend). I tested one of the muffins and they are deliciously moist and delightfully healthy, with canola oil, walnuts, only 1 egg, and my special addition: flax seed meal.

I found my 2 hours in the kitchen slipped away without one moment of anxiety or urgency or feeling of "i should be doing..." and I haven't reached that flow state in quite some time. I listened to old grad school tunes--better than ezra and shawn mullins. I thought of my former friend A. who was in love with the lead singer for better than ezra, and how overjoyed she was when he touched her hand at the concert on our campus. I hope life is treating her well.

Now I sip my french press coffee and stretch out on the couch with my american lit anthology, reading ahead for the week. We start the Harlem Renaissance this week, and begin our first novel, Zora Neale Hurston's exquisite *Their Eyes Were Watching God.*

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