Fall is always a tough transition for me. I didn’t realize until a few years ago when I finally took the step to visit a counselor for a few short months when I must have been feeling the perfect balance of weak and brave all at the same time. She helped me realize that when my mind gets rolling and the anxiety starts taking over, its always fall. Armed with this realization I have tried to meet fall head on with my own survival plan. Sometimes it works, sometimes it really doesn’t, but it always pulls me back into my own mind and causes me to truly consider my daily life. This is something that I love, but I get worse and worse at all the time.
Today, on one of the very last days of the summer break from our regular school schedule I was compelled to ignore my increasingly demanding job and take some time to slice up giant cucumbers in step one of the process of Grandma Dalene’s cinnamon pickles. I stepped into my cluttered kitchen with the memory of having received the recipe in the mail from my Aunt Sandy years ago. I wasn’t sure where to find it, but I knew I would have kept it. I pulled open the cabinet in my kitchen that houses cook books, plastic straws, measuring bowls and a random collection of “kitchen stuff”. I ran my finger along the cook books trying to determine which one I would have been most likely to stick that recipe in. I grabbed a plain envelope and pulled it out from between the books. Addressed to me, from Sandy Howard. It was meant to be. I read over the recipe, remembering going though this process decades ago with my Grandmother. I had begged her to make them because they were one of my favorite treats from Grandma’s house. After beginning the process today with the tedious work of coring the cucumbers to make perfect rings, I understand why I only remember helping once. As it turns out, Cinnamon pickle making is a 50-some hour task, so it will be a while before I confirm the authenticity of the results, but the process is therapeutic.
Last week was not a good week for me. It is so hard to describe why when the why doesn’t exist. I found myself getting through each day using the same coping mechanisms that one would deploy to get through an amusement park ride that, though not necessarily scary, is not providing a welcomed thrill either. It’s exhausting riding that uncomfortable ride all day.
Today my girls and I left our cucumbers to soak in the process of becoming pickles and set out on a bike ride. There were several moments during our ride where I would have to encourage Thea to tough it out and keep pedaling up that hill, because on the other side was a nice breezy downhill to reward us. We all dealt with the frustrations of the lead rider stopping or slowing abruptly and the uneasiness of crossing a busy street. I marveled at their independence, and they helped me forget my uncomfortable ride.