Saturday, September 17, 2011

And there's a barrel that I didn't fill.

Autumn is my favorite season, I'm pretty sure. Paradoxically, autumn makes me anxious.

We went to the farmer's market today, and it was the very essence of the season: peaches everywhere, and tomatoes, and all the things that go with tomatoes--basil, eggplant, peppers, garlic. Corn. And grapes, berries of every imaginable variety, the beginning of the onslaught of apples. It's utterly beautiful. You can smell everything, too, there's that much of all of it. Brilliant, heaped in baskets and boxes and on tables.

We bought a box of tomatoes, for roasting. I am thinking about peaches--if I want to make more jam; if I want to bottle some. Or if we should just eat them as they are, as many as we can, until they're gone.

There are two poets for autumn, or maybe just two iconic poems: Keats' autumn ode, and Frost's "After Apple Picking." Both of these poems I read when I was much younger, though they have more power for me now.

Frost says,

I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.

"Anxious" seems to mark things these days. Weary, too, but also anxious: how shall I spend these days? What shall I put by?

The last stanza of Keats:

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river-sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The music is beautiful. It is wailful, it is rumbling, there's nothing for it but to let it sing.


  1. Beautiful. Apple-onian.

  2. Such an awesome post, Lisa B. Thank you for the words and the pictures, too.

    Here's what NOT to do with peaches--make peach chutney. Or at least don't decide that if a little fresh ginger is a good idea, a LOT of ginger is an awesome idea. I'm so disappointed. The chutney is a failure.

  3. I do not feel alone in the world when I read your blog. And I love these pictures - especially the dreamy plums in a blue and white bowl and the old-gold grapes.

  4. I've been thinking of this gorgeous post for days now. I love both the poems and that ansioux keeping and keeping up with fall.

  5. I agree. Beautiful, thoughtful, thoughtprovoking!

  6. Linked here from Mighty Girl. Thanks for the Frost.



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