All through this ridiculous week I've been leaving for work in the dark and arriving back home after sunset, so I had no idea what wonders were transforming my woods. I walked up the hill behind our house (without pain!) and found an explosion of red, orange, yellow, and brown, while down in the dry, dead garden a few bright yellow habanero peppers glow like neon lights under the pepper plants.
The temperature dipped into the 30s last night, so this morning the resident gardener went out and picked everything worth picking from the garden--some green tomatoes, two buckets of sweet potatoes, a lone zucchini (and when have we ever had zucchini still producing this late in the season?). And he also brought in every pepper worth picking, which inspired me to make massive amounts of rice-and-sausage filling to stuff into peppers and bake. We'll be eating stuffed peppers for the rest of the weekend while processing the piles of habaneros and red chilis for the drying.
That nip in the air feels refreshing and the colorful leaves make us embrace autumn, but they warn us of long, cold, monochromatic months ahead when nothing will warm us so well as the memory of autumn leaves and the red-hot fire of preserved peppers.