Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Amongst the autumn leaves

It has been longer than I meant it to be since I posted last. I put it down to the autumn leaves. As they twist and fall from the trees and gather in a thick luscious carpet on the ground, my mind seems to flutter and flit also. The thing with autumn leaves are that they are beautiful, individually….watching just one float down on the breeze, examining just one, admiring its colours and shape. They are beautiful en masse, too, when you scrunch through them or let your eye dance over a pile of them. But start to pay too much attention and they almost hypnotise you. There is just too much variety of colour and shape; your eye cannot rest on just one, and neither can your mind.

Every November I seem to find myself cast a little adrift. Letters stay half-written, knitting is cast aside. Books, ordered from the library and eagerly waited for arrive all at once, are dipped into, and, too much, are put aside. The silence that I usually enjoy seems oppressive, sometimes. I sit and I wait, rather than sit and do. The only thing to do in times like this is let it pass, which is what I have been doing. To nurture and potter, and get through it. As Alison posted the other day, this too shall pass. http://brocantehome.typepad.com/brocante_home/2007/11/semi-detached.html Somehow it feels validating to know that someone else feels this too.

And so, on to the nurturing. Yourself first, then others. Just like on the aeroplane when they tell you that you have to put your own oxygen mask on first, then help others. So, long bubbly baths from which you crawl between clean sheets, flick through a magazine if you can, sip some herbal tea and close your eyes whilst listening to Radio 4. Even if it is only half past six in the evening. Bubbly pots of soup on the stove, and with every sip feel the rejuvenating begin within you. Just now, my favourite is vegetable soup – easy, economical, warming, and the chopping is soothing to me.

2-3 leeks
2-4 medium carrots,
3 parsnips
1 medium potato
a shake of frozen peas, sweetcorn, or whatever else takes your fancy.

Tie on an apron, put on a song that lifts your spirits, find out a large saucepan, and put the kettle on to boil.

Heat a splash of oil in your pan, then slice your leeks. Throw them in, turn the heat low while you peel the rest of the veg. Slice them into tiny dice, small enough that if you got one in your spoon it would go in your mouth with ease. As you finish each veg, throw it in the pot.

When the kettle boils, pour enough water to cover the veg, and sprinkle over a crumbled vegetable stock cube. Simmer genly for 20 minutes or so, topping up with water if you fancy it.

Shake in some frozen peas or sweetcorn, bubble for another 5 minutes or so, then turn off the heat.

My stick-blender has a splash-proof mechanism, so I lightly blend most of the soup, leaving some lumps and bumps for variety.

This is very much a use-what-you-have-or-what-you-fancy soup, you don’t need to be very precise about anything. It keeps well in the fridge or freezer, and can be varied with the addition of a little chopped ham or chicken, a grating of cheese, or a whisper of nutmeg and pepper.

Indulge yourself in any little way that lifts your spirits. Don’t buy a bar of Dairy Milk, treat yourself to one sumptuous truffle instead. Pick up a bunch of flowers and a new magazine. Go and buy a jumper that is soft to snuggle in, or a brown angora cardigan with a smattering of sequins that make you smile when you see them gleam.

When you walk, leave yourself plenty of time to get where you are going so you can indulge in all the sights that wait to greet you. Make a bee-line for the leaves and scrunch through them. Sip a cinnamon latte, and let your mind drift and wander pleasantly.

Be kind to yourself, and remember that this, too, will pass, and before you know it you will be back on track, on an even keel, and feeling just….better. Myself, again.

1 comment:

tash said...

I know exactly how you feel, as I've mentioned November isn't usually "my month", but I'm trying awfully hard to break that trend. I think now we're almost half way through, it'll get better. I do hope so. Remembrance day is always the difficult time.

Tonight we're having French onion soup with homemade cheese-scone croutons and homemade apple crumble with organic vanilla ice-cream. Delish. Hope you are feeling better too.