Ask any European person about the autumn and something they’ll always bring up is the dark. The time changes, night swallows up the day even more. An imbalance. People are leaving school or work and the sun has already faded. It’s seen as a symptom, of wet weather and dry hands and flu season.
The dark seems to be a thing of fascination. You don’t just go out late on a regular winter evening, you wait until certain almost allotted days to go out. Then you find ways to light up the night; fireworks and bonfires and gaudy Christmas lights that silhouette farmhouses eerily on quiet country lanes.
And there’s Halloween, a whole celebration of the dark. Not just finding a reason to run around the neighborhood after the sun sets, but to play with the other side of the night. It’s dark, it’s unknown, there’s always the possibility there’s more out there. So very regular people who believe in science and reason will dress up as ghosts and demons, one night a year. Because we dismiss the people who really believe in them, don’t we? As kind of kooky. But on Halloween, witches and magic are for both the believers and the logical. It’s always seemed like car crash fascination to me. An odd interest in the other side, but just as a visitor. Nobody would really want to be in a car accident and most people really wouldn’t want to open up enough to believe in mystery. And nobody really wants to be out in the dark if they don’t have to be. Because somewhere someone said it was better to all be inside under yellow lights, like summer moths to a candle. The light-seeking moths only live for a week and they spend the whole time looking for light. I guess they’re really not that different from us after all.
If I have late classes it is already dusky as I leave. The prettiest time of day, along with the morning, especially in the late autumn and winter. Trees cast abstract shadows and the horizon is emptier. On a clear day the sky is soft fading violet and the sun splashes colour onto the clouds. They’re not white or gray as they would be in the light. They’re apricot, tangerine and cantaloupe. Some are so brightly illuminated in orange they’re almost neon, like an airborne reflection of cars’ taillights. On the road the lights blur into long red, glowing tunnels, pausing and bursting with acceleration and braking. Headlights seem to spill moonlight around dark bends, playing off stone barn walls and over empty fields, winter nothingness. By 5pm you can see white stars, the most magical of all the night things. They are the jewel in the crown of the dark’s defense. But there are also blinking lights of planes and jets, taking people to places everywhere, and the sharper white of distant satellites. To remind you that there is far more to it all than what you see in the light.
“into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely” Edna St Vincent Milay
Hiii. I abandoned this space again, something I had no intention to do, but anyway. I’ve said before that I was back. Let’s see if it happens this time. Autumn is considering whether or not it wants to make an appearance in England this year, I hope it does. One of my preferred seasons, a nice time for muffins and melancholy. Melancholy may not come so easily to you sunny-dispositioned people out there, but I can help with the muffs.
Maple pecan mini muffs
Makes 24 mini muffs, 12 regular
1 1/4c oat flour
1 1/4c brown rice flour
1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg
2/3c plain yogurt of choice
2 free range eggs
1/4c olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2c pure maple syrup
Heaped 1/2c pecans, chopped (or any other nut, if you like)
Preheat the oven to 180’c, 350’f. Prepare a mini muffin pan, or a regular pan, you choose.
Stir together the flours, baking powder/soda, spices and salt. Stir through chopped pecans.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla and maple.
Stir the wet mix into the dry mix and spoon into muffin tins.
If making mini muffs, bake for 15-18 minutes. For regular muffins they will probably need 5-10 minutes more.
The muffs will keep for a few days in an airtight container and also freeze well. Aren’t they cute?