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Since I’ve started making my peace with our tiny apartment, I’ve been paring down my collection of seasonal decorations. I’ve never been one for plastic decorations in the house; the pieces that get kept tend to be sturdy favorites in matreials I like to look at and touch, like wood and wool and sturdy glass. These are the items I pull out again, year after year.


Even then I cheat. These wool pumpkins store flat, to be stuffed with whatever I have around in the fall: carrier bags, old t-shirts, summer socks.


Nature fills in the rest. Distributing acorn squash around the house allows us to keep several on hand at any given moment, even with our tiny kitchen. I could eat them every day for the entire fall and not get tired of a well-cooked acorn squash. Perhaps it’s because they are so seasonal; you can’t get them here in the warmer months, so I revel in squashes in the fall.



Every time I open a squash, it’s like being a kid with an enormous pumpkin again. The smell, the perfect scoop-shaped soup spoon to scrape the seeds out. The pumpkiny smell.


Biting into an apple is just the same, a flashback to picking in the orchards at home. (Scotland is not known for its orchards.) Apples bred for long-distance grocery store shipping just don’t taste like apples, not like an utterly unshippable cox, so for the entirety of the fall season I revel in the red cheeks.


Even in the city, there’s just enough nature to bring some inside. If I can’t cut fir branches for Christmas, the dying grasses and fallen leaves are plentiful enough for autumn.

And my orchids are blooming! NTS sure knows how to give a girl flowers. He brought these home over two years ago. This must be the second bloom for the lighter flowers, and the fifth for the fuscias.


To be sure, I’m writing away too madly at my dissertation to devote much time to decoration (or blogging). I haven’t long now, and I’m panicking enough for any two people. But anything that takes me out-of-doors, or that offers a peaceful pace for my tired eye to rest, is a boon in these parlous times.