Sunday, September 30, 2012
Today I've been collecting sun-softened, ripe rose hips into a brown paper bag that I begged off a counter-person at Rainbow Naturals, an apothecary that mixes its own herbs on Capitol Hill in Seattle. When I asked her for somewhere to transfer my bristly handful of rose hips, each the beating color of internal organs, she rustled out the bag and said in an undertone, "We're all herb nerds here, so I understand."
It was good. I wonder what Rainbow Naturals does with their rose hips, and I'll have to ask.
Meanwhile, I have a brown lunch bag lined with their rosy rounded forms, each with its autumnal, prickly leaf-stem. Lovely, what a dying rose leaves behind. If this is recycling, then I like it.
I'd always seen the bright orange hips, seemingly in such abundance on bare fall shrubs. But I never knew that they were things that ripened, that grew soft and tore at the edge when unhinged from the stem, so that each tear resembles a gash in a tomato.
So far, I'm just peeping at them proprietarily every so often. Tonight I'll settle on whether to make jelly, puree, chutney -- or even rose hip and vegetable curry.
What do you think?
Friday, September 28, 2012
Lately, hawthorns have been my quarry, though I've only gathered a 2-pound margarine container full of them and left them in the refrigerator, so far. What can I say? I was expecting to have to move this week! I was knee-high in boxes and making decisions about papers and treasured clippings about small presses in New Jersey from 2009.
Why is it that every review of our small items makes me think that a) I should become a hard-core Buddhist and relinquish all material items, going from door to door with a proffered hat and never again thinking about Comcast and (b) that every piece of paper, each wing-nut from a project and each pearlized button is irreplaceable and that I must keep it for all time to remind me of the fall of 2010?
Did I say that I did not move? Not yet, at least. I gave notice, then thought about whether I'm ready to go flying off to another time zone to live on a couch until I am able to find a peaceful share with a like-minded person who (hopefully) does not come in at 2:30 a.m. and cook aromatic soups of chicken and spices, at the very least. Because one of my former roommates in New Jersey did just that, and the scent was tempting enough to get a person out of bed and rubbing her eyes.
It is just the beginning of October, hawthorn and rose-hip season. Our weather here in Seattle is still bright and sunny, and sometimes I swear that we all are living in a waking dream in which we think that it is June. Honestly, I get confused, although on the nippier days (which I love), I notice that the evenings come earlier now as our planet tilts.
The reason for thinking of moving was partly weather. I'm a person who loves sunlight, or at least loves it in its indirect forms: dappled, glowing into a room at the window, emerging through tree branches, on a light and breezy summer day, and in its amber-bright autumnal glory.
Often, in late summer, I can hardly stand to think that the sharp concentrations of color that we see here in Seattle in August and early September might change. That said, I am happiest when I live near (by which I mean, keep aware of) the plants and air changes of season.
That is, knowing which plants are now in season -- hawthorns, rose-hips, the last of the huckleberries at high elevations -- it makes me notice the days better, to walk with a quickness of step.
So, how shall I prepare those hawthorns? I'm thinking of making a kind of apple sauce, having boiled and mashed and strained them, then adding cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Late summer and fall, free from a tree. Good start!