Yellow leaves. Foghorn blowing. Evening mist. Steam on the window panes. Crisp morning runs. Orion. Oats simmering on the stove. Cabbage. Chess. Chanterelles. The return of soup. Tea. Salmon up the river. Long-johns. Knitting. Houseguests curled in blankets; baby napping on the floor.
Hello fall! I’ve missed you.
Enough with the public angst. There are more important things at stake. As in: ripe fruit. It is high time to funnel your inner grandmother, find some peaches, and dedicate an afternoon to stashing summer in a jar.
When I was little my grandparents canned enough to keep all twenty grandchildren in peaches for the entire winter. We slathered them on french toast, ate them with ice cream, dumped them in yoghurt. Putting fruit away was an expedition-sized production. The entire process was coordinated by my grandmother Ruth. My Grandpa Len would be sent to Osoyoos for boxes of peaches, and was in charge of doing all of the dishes. This was the kind of man who never made himself a sandwich until my Grandmother was eighty-four and she decided enough was enough and he needed to learn to put two pieces of bread with a little butter together without her assistance thank-you-very-much. We were all shocked by her sassy-ness as she aged. A few weeks before she died she told me she was going to learn French so we could go to Paris and she could order all the wine. This was a proper Christian lady who did not do such things. I was impressed. But, that is an aside. I should be focusing on the fruit.
This week marked the return to class. We dove straight into emergency skill drills, the prospect of producing something from my (very-behind) research, and a healthy dose of fear. Beginning this final year is a little petrifying. I find it quizzical that I will soon be responsible for keeping new humans alive. Yet, in my real life I find it so difficult to find my keys, wash dishes, and eat only a sane amount of cheese.
Like most of my classmates, I’ve struggled sometimes with the decision to spend this many years in school. Bottom was last spring. I remember studying desperately in the backseat of a car coming home from a weekend trip to the coast. Months of no sleep had me crumbly and depleted. I was countering with so much coffee that my thoughts had turned awkward and strange. I loved my practicum and adored my preceptor, but in prioritizing fun over work I realized how deeply I missed my old, more spontaneous, life.
Who knows what holds true when you are that over-tired, but through the haze I remember clinging to everyone around me who seemed to be able to hold.themselves.together. I begged my brother to make me soup. Or find someone who would, immediately. This display of raw need was so unlike me, I think it shocked us both. I didn’t really know how I was going to write those exams, let alone make it to September.