I’m cooking jambalaya for the bar today. I’ve never made this before, but I’ve eaten it enough, so I found a basic recipe with celery, peppers, chicken and sausage and am rolling with it. I’m elaborating and improvising, though. They don’t stock smoked paprika at the store I stopped at yesterday, but I bought andouille instead of the plain smoked meat it calls for. I added the requisite cups of chicken broth, but I’m boiling bones from the thighs I clumsily butchered at seven this morning, simmering them until it’s time to leave for work, then I’ll dump the rich liquid into the crock pot. I squeezed a few tomatoes from my garden in as well and tripled the garlic.

There won’t be anymore new tomatoes this season. That’s what I know about late September. Whatever fruits are still on the plants won’t grow larger, and their red-ripening will nearly quit now. This is the time of year that I Google “recipes for green tomatoes NOT fried” — not because I dislike fried green tomatoes but because I plant cherry and grapes ones. I might make fritters with them this year, though.

I love this harvest. Mabon is a kiss on the back of my neck. Whether you call it Fall, Equinox, Holiday or Nothing, you feel this one. It’s a change in the air. It’s a momentary balance between the dark and light, time to hold them both and recognize their equal power and necessity.

See what this year’s sun grew. Eat and can what’s nourishing and will keep; toss the rest back in your garden for next year’s earth. The roots and gourds still finishing in the ground won’t mind. They’ll welcome the seeds.

One more harvest to go, then it’s the dark part of the year. This is just the start, but it goes fast. Soon sunset will fall before five and sunrise will come after seven.

While my jambalaya cooks, I’m straightening my room. I seem to rearrange it with the seasons — the current configuration feels like a fairy tale to me. Kids are still sleeping (one on the couch, the other in her Cupboard Under the Stairs), and I need to shower. I want to go outside, though, and put bare feet in the grass and soak up some of the green energy and warmth still near the surface. It gets cold in the dark.

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