My favorite season has arrived in Macedonia. Somehow every year the crisp air, the waning brilliance of sunshine, the cozy dusk that daily inches closer and closer — each quality of fall that strikes me as both sublime and endearing — manages to cross the time-space continuum. Every fall day that I have ever loved is wrapped up in this one, this windy moment punctuated with leather and burnt orange. Whether perched atop a southern mountain overrun by the wildfire of leafy hues, or navigating the urban collision of woodsmoke and car exhaust — this season represents romance past & present. The classical sense.
Skopje these days emits the aroma of home-made ajvar which wafts from every vikendica and backyard, including mine, where, through an arduous and precise multi-day process, we have just turned 60 kilos of slow-roasted red peppers into bottled delicacy. You could say the scent has the power to transport me back in time — one year, six years — or to launch me into future falls and the prospect of extending this joie du moment présent, this setting, this scenery, this cast. I’m not ready for the season that comes next. I wish I could freeze time in its tracks. But it’s still too early for frost.