Sparkly Nights

These first few weeks of November are always strange. The weather is always doing odd things. The leaves have pretty much all fallen from the trees, leaving a color fanatic like myself rather unimpressed with the dreary brown-ness of the Mid-Atlantic region. It’s too far from the winter holidays to inspire a countdown, but it’s already late enough in the year to make you wonder “what the fuck happened to October?” as deadlines encroach and work begins to snowball.

November is never a *good* month, yet it marks a point in time when it’s acceptable to bake with pumpkin; I get to break out the cinnamon, allspice, and ginger to fill the kitchen with the spicy, warmth-inducing scents of autumn. Mom sent me some cheesy nonstick tart tins in the mail today (along with junk mail and useless credit card applications) increasing my haphazard collection of 4″ diameter tartlet pans to 12. Three different kinds, some fluted, some not; some have the nice removeable bottoms, and some of them are just plain molded ones that you find in the supermarket. None of them match, but they work well enough for small batches. If I ever had to cater anything, there’d be a problem. Not having ventured far into baking endeavors of late, the new tart pans merited a christening. Of course, they had to be pumpkin. Creamy, fluffy, cinnamon-specked sienna colored disks of warm goodness were totally worth using up the very last of the flour in the house, and gave me a sense of purpose on this awkward Monday afternoon. I also shamelessly consumed much more tart filling than can be healthy for one person =).

I hadn’t eaten pumpkin-flavored goodies in ages; in fact, I don’t know that I remember the last time that I enjoyed this temporal delicacy, I just know it’s been a while.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve felt the dry, chill air of a not-quite-winter night tingle my nose when I leave a building on my way home. Every year, there’s that one night, the first time that it’s cold enough to crystallize water on the tips of the grass, on already crunchy dried leaves, and it gets to me every year. The past week, as I trudge home from the library or venture out of the apartment after dark, I look forward to reaching the Campus Center green. Where the streetlights don’t quite reach the whole field, and reflections from brightly lit windows or even the moon scatter bits of light across my path. The facets glint differently with every step, and as I walk on there’s no time to think about whatever crazy bullshit is running around in my head. I’m too busy marvelling at the glittery path in front of me, that crackles as I go.

I’m a simple girl, easily amused by sparkly things. In November, I need that smack of cold air to revive my senses: to pull me out of my introversion and back into the real world of twinkling stars and frost, of warm pumpkin tarts.

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