It’s a golden day. A wintery white-gold glowing day. Really the only leaves left on the trees are the golden ones, and they fall all around you in a bright shower. The boys flew out of the house, gleaming, a bat and an owl with fiendish expressions and madly flapping wings. They chased each other down to the towpath where fallen leaves of every color trail along the surface of the fast dark water like strings of christmas lights. Isaac loves this weather because he was born in this weather. I tell them about the day they were each born, unseasonably warm for November, unseasonably cool for July, both perfect perfect days. When we got to the part of the towpath where the trees have brown-paper leaves that smell like burnt sugar, a whole pack of teenage girls ran by. A track team, maybe. They were very serious, staring straight ahead. I know they know Malcolm, they’re not much older in actual chronology, but they didn’t say hello. He was quiet and thoughtful in his owl suit, for a minute or two. I thought nothing gold can stay, nothing gold can stay. And then he raced ahead after Isaac. Clio pulled me ahead and the boys fell behind, lost in serious conversation.
I looked back at them, with their bright heads bent together, and I wondered what they were talking about. It was what they would do if somebody took Daddy and me away. They’d walk miles to Dad’s shop and get a bow and arrow. They’d buy a thousand nail guns. They’d save up their money for a paintball gun and fill it with pebbles. Then they’d find us somehow. We got to where we were going, a big field, and heavy indigo clouds rolled in, and the trees were bright like fire against the dark sky.
Everbody flew around the field, and Isaac gave me hugs to knock me over. His skin smells beautiful, like sunshine and summer. I told Malcolm it wouldn’t rain, but of course he was right and it did rain, a fine cold rain. Isaac put up his ghost bat hood. We made it home, and the boys filled the house with the scent of clementines while they waited for warm lunch. Just a bat and an owl sitting together and resting a moment, before they return to their dizzying flight.
Here’s Park Life, by Blur, because my boys are completely obsessed with it at the moment.
2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
freshly ground pepper, lots of it!
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen
1/3 cup olive oil
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and black pepper. Grate in the butter, and mix with a fork until you have coarse crumbs. Add the olive oil and continue to mix until it’s fairly well incorporated. Add just enough ice water to bring everything together into a workable dough. Knead for about one minute, then wrap in foil and chill for at least 1/2 hour.
1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch dice
1 clove garlic
1 t dried sage, or 3 or 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
olive oil to coat
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup apricots, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
pinch each ginger, nutmeg, coriander and allspice
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425. Mix the squash with the olive oil and sage and spread in a single layer on a large tray. Pierce the skin of the garlic clove and set it on the side of the tray. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the squash is crispy and golden.
In a bowl combine all of the ingredients and mix well. (Peel and smush the garlic clove, and stir it right in.)
Butter a large-holed muffin pan. Break the dough into six pieces, and each of those six pieces into two pieces of unequal size (3/4 to 1/4) Roll the larger piece into a rough circle about 1/8th inch thick and fit it into the muffin tin, pressing into the corners, with about 1/2 inch of a border all the way around. Fill to the top with filling. Roll the smaller piece into a circle about 1/8th inch thick, and place it over top of the filling. Roll the edges up to form a seal. Press the edges with the tine of a fork, and pierce the top with a fork in a few places. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. (You might want to fill them all before you top them all, so that you can be sure the filling is evenly distributed.)
Bake for about 1/2 hour till puffed and golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly, and then remove from the muffin tins.