What was I thinking? I won't be cooking that beautiful heirloom squash this week, because I will be eating locally in the San Francisco Bay Area while visiting my mom and my brother and his lovely family for a few days. I flew via Portland yesterday, with airport TV monitors and newspaper headlines all emblazoned with images of the horrendous storm and flooding that hit the Pacific Northwest -- but all that was evident from the plane windows once we descended through the clouds and fog were a few puddles on the ground.
It is cool and drizzly in Berkeley today, and it is still botanical autumn here. The view out of my brother's kitchen window shows clusters of red berries against golden leaves, a bright red Japanese maple, and expanses of burgundy foliage interspersed with gray-green eucalyptus and redwoods and oaks and palm trees, set against the mist-enshrouded backdrop of the Berkeley Hills.
The fragrant dampness and rich colors provide a very welcome respite from the snows and below-zero windchills of the past few days in Minnesota. I do, however, welcome the knowledge that we will have a white Christmas this year, something that we used to take for granted (when we moved to Northfield almost 18 years ago, a longtime resident told us there was usually snow on the ground from Thanksgiving until at least March) but increasingly uncertain in recent years.