And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
– William Shakespeare
So said William Shakespeare . . . not one to be argued with. And I’m certainly not arguing with his take on summer. I’d probably be happy living in the year-round 70-and-sunny temperatures of California. You know how the iPhone comes pre-programmed with its weather widget set for Cupertino? I’ve never changed the location, just because I love looking at my phone and seeing that round yellow sun. Seasons? Pshaw. Who gives a fig about seasons when you can use the outdoor pool 365 days a year?
But I don’t live in California. I live in Oregon, where we have not only a real summer, but a real fall, winter and spring as well. I’ve spent a year in upstate New York, which has some of the most dramatic displays of leaf color you’ll ever see. (Picture driving down a hill and into a blazing cauldron of red, orange and yellow and you’ll know what October in the Finger Lakes looks like.)
What isn’t said in all the celebration about summer is that fall’s lease, too, hath all too short a date. Fall is like spring backwards, except instead of buds on trees and pent-up expectation of warmer weather, fall ushers in thoughts of heavy snows and cloudy days. The perfect spring day – that rare 24-hour blip in February when it’s unseasonably and unreasonably 72 degrees – is as scarce as the perfect fall day. Blue skies as crisp as a Jonagold apple, crunchy leaves not yet smushed into submission by rain, bright orange pumpkins perched on every doorstep. If I’m lucky, Oregon gets a handful of those each year. This (unattributed) chart from Pinterest sums it up:
If all we get for fall is that tiny slice of green, we’d better make the most of it. I’ve sorely disappointed myself by not posting a single pumpkin recipe since the beginning of October. So here’s a lovely pumpkin snack cake, chock full of gooey chocolate chips, to make up for it. I halved the original recipe to make it more manageable – I never bake anything in a 9×13 pan unless I’m feeding a crowd – but left the amount of spices and vanilla extract unchanged . . . . because you can never have too much cinnamon and vanilla!