fall is coming

Here in the north country, hints of fall are everywhere. The weather is cool enough to wear a sweatshirt (I brought a limited number of long-sleevers, so I’ll have to dig into the winter clothes I leave here.); the sun rises at 6:00 and by 8:00 pm it’s getting dark (very different than June when daylight lasted almost 16 hours.); and my father’s garden has large empty patches (the bush peas, the lettuce, the fava, the onions are all gone.); the winter vegetables are filling in where the garlic and the other early summer greens once grew.

In the image, Ciccio is doing his morning ritual – every morning, my dad gets up and at sunrise heads into the garden and harvests what is ready. In the garden, the other indicator that points to fall is the beans. In the bowl, Ciccio has the Romano beans he shelled yesterday and on the table he’s cleaning the flat-green beans. In my mind, whenever the beans were being harvested, I knew summer and the growing season were coming to an end. On the picnic table is a basket full of zucchini flowers that my mom will make into fritters, also on the table are five cucumbers.

I’ve always liked going into the garden and picking the small cucumbers off the vines and eating them as I walked under the pole-beans and towards the peas to eat my fill. A breakfast of small, juicy cucumbers and big, sweet peas will always mean summer in my dad’s garden. (Under my rimless Cartiers, my blue-swede Hubbards, my fitted Etro and my skinny-jeans, I really am an old Calabrese.)

Also walked over to my uncle-and-aunt’s and in their garden too, the harvest was in full swing. My uncle grows amazing eggplant; the plants, in plastic barrels, were heavy with a second picking.

I don’t think I was ready for the chill. (Everyone talked about it having been a wet and cold summer.) But then, I’ve been here in early August and even then we were eating indoors, because by late afternoon the weather had begun to cool.