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Autumn Kitchen


            It’s just me and the cat on this raw November afternoon. Fire blazing in the old black wood stove while I chop, peel and stir in the kitchen. I treasure a good nook and I swoon over an even better cranny. My house has both. I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have found my way to this home.

            The front door opens with a whoosh and cold wind blows through the kitchen. It’s my husband coming home half frozen but happy from his morning hike with our two dogs. The place gets down right raucous when they arrive, covered in frost and hungry for a hot meal. Dogs are toweled off and fed. The cat rubbing and purring against their legs. I’ve covered the couch in a faded quilt and the three amigos hop up for a deep sleep in front of the fire. In minutes, we hear the younger dog snoring softly. The cat curled up next to her belly.

            The aroma from my cooking fills the house. The earthy richness of winter beets bubbling on the stove top and the sweet scent of an apple crisp that will be a welcome warm dessert at the end of our late day meal. An old family recipe that is a tradition every fall. I pull bread out of the oven and ladle a thick purple soup into my favorite ironstone bowls.  A precious find at a flea market last fall.  I plop a generous spoonful of thick yogurt into the middle and watch it sink a bit as it melts, sending creamy streaks into the deep plum of the liquid. The afternoon light is dove grey and fading fast. Sitting down to eat at the oversized wooden table by the windows, we see it has started to snow. The first fat flakes of the season are slowing floating past the bare trees.  The bird feeder I filled on the porch this morning has some takers. A scarlet cardinal is joined by two chickadees.  They are pecking away and scattering seeds on the ground below them. A family of plump tawny squirrels are cleaning up the mess. Their puffy tails tucked along their backs for extra warmth, as the snow clings to their fuzzy faces.

            My husband regales me with tales of adventure from the morning forest hike. “We almost found Lost Lake this time and Sassy chased a deer who ghosted us on a bend in the woods behind the house.” he tells me between mouthfuls.  I can barely hear him because I am suddenly struck with such a sense of gratitude. I am flooded with it. “What’s wrong?” he asks as he sees my eyes are tearing up. I smile at him and pass him a piece of hot buttered bread. “Absolutely nothing.”

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